ARLINGTON - Youth ministry isn't easy. It requires long hours, unending energy, incredible patience and deep commitment.
That's precisely why it requires a calling from God. No matter the trials those who minister to youth face, they must continue, said speakers during Texas Baptists' Conclave, made possible by gifts to missions through the Texas Baptist Cooperative Program.
"Our business is kingdom business, and our gaze should always point true north," said Mike Satterfield, teaching pastor of Fielder Road Baptist Church in Arlington.
As youth ministers interact with young people, their parents and church leaders, there will be times of frustration and disappointment. People are frail and flawed. They will fall short of God's expectations. Even youth ministers.
When shortcomings appear, that's when Christ followers face decisions, said Timothy Ateek, executive director of Vertical Ministries in Waco. Christian ministers can choose what sometimes "feels best" - be it striking out at someone in anger, looking at inappropriate images on one's phone or some other action - or to do what God calls them to do.
"Will you choose love for God or rebellion against Him?" Ateek said. "This is the decision we have to make every day."
Satterfield echoed Ateek, challenging youth ministers to live out their faith daily. "Practice what you preach. Here's the problem Conclave: We have gotten so good at coaching, we have forgotten how to play the game."
Being able to follow God begins with a proper relationship with God, Satterfield preached. Once that bond is strong, Ateek encouraged youth ministers to live in spiritual community - having at least one accountability partner.
"If you don't have the vertical, the horizontal [plane] will never be right," Satterfield said.