Hello. My name is Theresa Mazza and I am a Woman in Youth Ministry. (Hi Theresa).
My mind won’t shut off at night. I lay in bed awake for hours because there is so much on my list that still needs to be done.
I sneak texts and facebook posts. I can’t ignore the teenager or parent on the other end. I can answer a text while I’m cooking taco meat. No, I’m not texting a student. I’m making dinner!
My computer is a part of my body. I’ve watched countless movies with my family while answering emails, loading the youth calendar, or creating a winter retreat brochure.
Youth ministry gets more date nights with me than my husband does. Youth ministry and I go to the movies together, we go away on the weekend together, we share meals together, we worship together. All things I wish I did more of with my husband.
I am the master at the Costco run. I can load my car to the max with all things youth group, unload, set up the youth room, prep dinner for 80 (where the hell are my volunteers), print out small group sheets, plug in my mac, turn on the sound system, and start a mad round of 9 square while students arrive…all with my child on my right hip the entire time.
This is me pushing myself on the merry go round that is youth ministry. Most of it feels like utter chaos most of the time. But enough of it, enough of the time, is an absolute thrill. So see I just can’t stop pushing myself round and around and around. I’m freaking called to youth ministry and there’s nothing I can do to be uncalled. It’s not uniquely crazy because I’m a woman, but I think other woman in youth ministry can uniquely understand why I do what I do, why I am the way I am, and can identify with me, and challenge me. This is why 2015 will look very different.
After almost 20 years of youth ministry I can say that I will not be on the youth ministry merry go round alone. Me and 5 other women in youth ministry in the area where I live, have committed to stand together in prayer and friendship. The decision to make this commitment came when we all agreed on a few things: we isolate ourselves on our youth ministry island way too much, we don’t laugh enough, or go out with friends enough, and we don’t have the prayer support or accountable we so desperately need.
So this year will be different for the six of us. We will pray for each other very intentionally, we will call each other often, and meet together the way besties do. We aren’t part of a program or anything, we’re just doing it.
We’re doing it and I hope this happens…
I hope my phone rings and the person on the other end says: “Pray with me.” And in that moment because I know what she’s going through, I can go to our loving God with her and petition for her in a way that no one else could.
I hope that we end up at Starbucks, not as our second youth office, but as place of friendship where we will share stories with each other that most people don’t get (yes, we purposely lock ourselves in with middle school girls all night and don’t sleep).
I hope we inspire each other and recognize each others strengths and gifts.
I hope we trust each other. And I hope that our trust will allow us to guide each other in a loving way.
I hope we challenge each other to be better, better moms, wives, sisters, friends, and leaders of our ministries.
This year I’m locking arms with these women. Whom will you lock arms with? Maybe there are women in youth ministry in your area you could invite to spin on the merry go round with you. And maybe you could also join us at the first ever Women in Youth Ministry Campference.
Theresa is a long time youth director and youth worker currently volunteering and causing student ministry mayhem at Broomfield United Methodist Church in Broomfield Colorado. She is also a speaker, writer, mommy, wife and Outreach Director at a clean water non-profit called El Porvenir.