While I was at a conference recently, I was talking with a student that was extremely excited to be at the conference and seemed to be having a great time. We got to talking and he shared with me that he wanted to get involved with youth ministry; that God had called him to do youth ministry. Naturally, I was pumped for him and asked him if he was involved with his youth group yet? He proceeded to tell me "No" but that he was going to try and get involved as soon as he got back home. I was pumped for this guy. I love it when people recognize that they can do something to make a difference.
I recently was following up with this guy and he told me that he was switching youth groups because there wasn't anything for him to do at the youth group that he was at right now. Honestly, I was flabbergasted. Yes, I was that stunned. I've only been in vocational ministry for 3 years, but if there is one thing that I know, it is that there is always room for more people to be a part of whatever it is that we're doing as a ministry. I just can't imagine that there is a ministry small enough that doesn't need any help getting things around. Furthermore, I'm convinced that the principle that probably is more frustrating behind this conversation is the 1 Corinthians 12:12 issue that raises its beautifully confronting head.
At no time, should we, those who consider themselves pastors, ever think that we should take on any responsibility that a volunteer can do especially when there is a volunteer that is willing to do it. We need to continue to see ourselves as facilitators to those that God has charged us with. We need to be preparing those in the body for ministry. You can't do that if you are disallowing someone the opportunity to complete an aspect of your ministry.
This is especially important in student ministry. Students want to own things, they want to have responsibility and they want to know that they have what it takes to be a part of something much more significant than themselves. Youth Pastors should be doing everything that we can to find ways to empower students to do even the most medial-seeming tasks. When we do this, we can speak value to that student and empower them to own their ministry.