Accountability: Remembering Who You Work For
One of the most difficult things about working with youth is understanding who it is you really answer to.
With an age group like teens, the instant feedback you receive (the roll of the eyes, the disconnected stares, the incessant talking) can sometimes be discouraging—even frustrating to the point of wanting to give up. But remember—the teenagers are not your boss.
If you’re a volunteer teacher, then chances are that someone recruited you to fill the role you do. Whether you’re new or a seasoned veteran, it is easy to confuse the person who asked you to do the job as your boss. If you’re paid, it’s a simpler step to the misunderstanding that whoever hired you is your overseer (though in some practical senses they certainly are).
The bottom line is this: when you are sitting in the classroom or living room sharing your heart and the Scriptures with students, you are accountable first and foremost to God. Your calling reaches well beyond the invitation of whoever recruited you to the task of teaching—you were called to minister by the Lord of the universe! And the results of your ministry should not be measured by the students in your group, or by their parents, or by anyone else, but by the “well done” of God’s voice you should constantly hear in your heart.
Teaching is a tough job, and I’m not suggesting that you be disrespectful to or ignorant of the ideas of people around you, be they fellow teachers, students, parents, or church leaders. I’m simply recommending that you remember who it is you REALLY serve.
In Romans 1:6, the Bible reminds us that we are among those who are called to belong to Jesus. He is our authority, our encouragement, and our purpose. When results in the classroom seem meager, He is no less pleased by our efforts. When we feel like quitting, He urges us forward.
Sometimes we look around and compare our ministry with others. There will always be a youth group larger, a teacher who is better, or a youth room with better furniture. To play the comparison game is to forget what really matters—teens turning to Jesus through caring adults and good, solid Bible teaching.
Jeremiah ministered for 40 years and no one listened. Yet, in Jeremiah 20:9, he lamented that even if he had tried not to preach the gospel, he would not be able to hold it in; it was like a fire in his bones. You may teach and pastor and pray for years with limited results—but God has a bigger picture in mind that sometimes we can’t see.
Remember, your labor is not in vain if you are working for the Lord.
Don’t forget who you work for, and lean on Him when times are tough.