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Youth Ministers, Come Back To The Call

When I signed up for a job in youth ministry, the last two-and-a-half years were not what I was signing up for.

Youth ministry during this COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly challenging. We’ve had to cancel events, rethink the way we do ministry, and spend WAY too many hours start at a webcam.

In this post-Easter season, I’ve been reminded that the disciples had plenty of their own ministry challenges to deal with. Jesus had been crucified, he had risen from the dead, and then he appeared to the disciples and told them to stay in Jerusalem.

Quite a bit to absorb.

I imagine that it was a time of great uncertainty for the disciples. They were still trying to wrap their heads around Jesus being back from the dead, let alone whatever was going to come next.

How did they cope with the uncertainty? Well, they went fishing (John 21:2-3).

Prior to meeting Jesus, several of the disciples had been fishermen. Jesus had called them to leave this life behind and instead become “fishers of people” (Matthew 4:19). But when faced with difficulty and uncertainty, the disciples return to their comfort zone.

They leave behind their call to be fishers of people, and return to being fishers of… fish.


If you’re involved in youth ministry, it’s because God called you. Maybe it was an invitation by your youth minister to join the leadership team. Maybe it was something that a speaker said at a Christian event. Maybe you looked around your church one day and realised that nothing was going to happen for young people unless you made it happen.

Whatever it was, God called you.

Over the past two years, it hasn’t been easy to stay true to this call. Maybe you’ve hit “pause” on ministry or walked away from the call completely. The disciples did a similar thing.

During this time of pandemic, I’ve been praying a lot about what Jesus wants to say to us, as youth ministers. Again and again, the words I’ve received are, “Come back to the call.”

While the disciples are out fishing, the resurrected Jesus appears on the shore. He calls out to the disciples, and Peter, recognising that it’s Jesus, leaps from the boat to meet him. In the verses that follow, Jesus invites Peter to come back to his call.

Jesus stands with Peter and asks him three times, “Do you love me?” Each time, Peter says “yes,” and each time, Jesus responded with some variation of “take care of my sheep.”

Three years prior, Peter had met Jesus on a shore just like this one, and his life had been changed completely. At the end of their exchange, Jesus repeats the two words that changed everything for Peter, “Follow me.”


The past two years have been a pretty crappy time to be doing youth ministry. More than once I’ve found myself asking, “Really Lord? Is this really where you still want me to be?” To stretch the analogy, maybe you’re in the same boat.

But Jesus is waiting for us on the shore. He wants us to come back to him, so that he can remind us of his plan for us and make that same invitation he made to Peter, “Follow me!”

Jesus wants us to come back to our call.

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