I love baseball. I love visiting new baseball stadiums. And there is nothing like having a good seat to watch a game!
On a recent family vacation to San Diego, we took in a Padres vs. Dodgers game in a baseball park I’ve never visited before. We landed great seats—front row seats in the upper section on the first base line. The view was incredible! We could hear the sounds from the field. There were very few distractions to take our focus off of the game being played. It was so much fun to watch.
As young adult ministry leaders, we have a front row seat into the lives of young adults. Sometimes that view allows us to celebrate the victories of what it means to be obediently following Jesus. At other times, it means we get to walk alongside those young adults in the moments of defeat and disappointment. The view is different from the front row!
There are some things to remember when we have front row seats in the life of young adults. Here are three things that make a significant impact in the lives of young adults from the front row fans:
1. Be a voice of encouragement.
There is nothing like being on the baseball field and hearing those fans cheer you on! In the same way, young adults need to hear you cheer them on. They need to hear that you believe in them and that God has extraordinary plans for their lives as a follower of Jesus. Many young adults have never had anyone truly say they believe in them. As a young adult ministry leader, you have the opportunity to be a positive voice of encouragement for them to make that next step of obedience in relationships, vocation or missions.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, CSB)
2. Be active in the game.
I noticed there were a few kinds of fans at the game. There were the ones that had no clue what was going on with the game, but were there just to take in the sights and get a good hot dog. There were the casual fans that did a lot of socializing, but kept one eye on the game. And then there were the fans that were keeping stats and let nothing distract them from the play of the game.
As a young adult ministry leader, be active in the game of young adult life. Understand the difficulties and issues facing young adults. Have conversations that will better help you pray and lead young adults in the area of being a disciple of Jesus. Be committed to the young adults that the Lord has brought into your life. Be active in getting to know them better.
“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)
3. Don’t be a bandwagon fan.
We’ve all seen them—those fans that only cheer the team on when they’re doing well. However, a true fan will show up even when the team is near the bottom of the race.
Young adults need to have people in their lives in the celebrations AND in the times of struggle. In those times when sin has invaded their lives, they’ve lost their job because of a mistake, or they’ve made an unwise decision, young adults need someone to consistently point them toward Jesus and His hope and forgiveness.
“The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked” (1 John 2:6)
As a young adult ministry leader, don’t take sitting in the front row for granted. It’s a special seat that God has given you so that you can enjoy and be faithful to a ministry of walking alongside young adults.
Mark Whitt is the Collegiate and Young Adult Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. Before joining Lifeway, he spent many years on the campus of Murray State University as a campus minister. Connect with Mark on Twitter.