Debunking the Common Myths and Misconceptions
As a youth pastor in my church, I hear from many teenagers and young adults that they feel they are called to work in ministry to some capacity. They feel a tug in their hearts to serve God, but they just aren’t sure of what that looks like right now.
I can clearly remember being around fourteen years old and feeling as God laid on my heart a passion for ministry. I would dream of getting to bring forth a sermon at church or leading worship. I could see myself traveling to other countries to preach about Christ.
All of these things I have done and more and I am under 25 years of age!
I obtained my ministerial credentials from the Assemblies of God when I was only seventeen years old and then became a Certified minister at nineteen!
I’ve had the incredible privilege of being under amazing leadership and pastors who saw my potential and most importantly, allowed me to step into it. While many people told me I was too young to be in ministry or obtain credentials, I had to follow God’s call for my life.
Maybe you think you are too young to be in ministry and leadership. Maybe others, possibly much older than you, have made you feel incapable or inexperienced.
Well, I’m here to share with you my journey and debunk the lies you may have heard or believed.
Let’s do this!
Myth #1: You are too young to be influential to those that are much older than you.
This particular lie was one that no one told me directly to my face but I just believed based on how those older than me made me feel. As always, there will be people who won’t believe in or support the call of God on your life.
Now, being a single woman in my twenties, I am aware that there will be specific life situations I cannot speak into. I have never been married or raised children, so I cannot advice others in those areas.
However, I can still set an example of a Godly lifestyle for those who are older as the apostle Paul instructs:
12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.1 Timothy 4:12 (ESV)
If someone makes you feel less because you are young, please be encouraged that age is but a number. I have met other young people in ministry who display greater spiritual maturity than their older counterparts.
I remember one specific instance in which an older woman (she could be my mother) came up to me after a church service to model her outfit to me. I awkwardly stared at her without understanding what she was doing.
She then explains that she was inspired by my modesty and took inspiration from my style to start dressing more modestly herself. I tried not too laugh but I found the ordeal very sweet.
Without realizing it, I was teaching this older woman an important lesson on modesty simply by displaying it myself. Pretty funny, right!
Myth #2: While you’re young, you should focus solely on school or trying to find your future spouse rather than serving in ministry.
As a young, unmarried twenty-something year old, this highly offends me.
Okay, I’m not really offended but this belief is quite common among young women who serve in ministry. We are often told that serving in leadership positions in church will be a hindrance to our studies or our love lives.
I remember one time an older woman (now this one could be my grandmother) telling me that the young men in my church probably found me and my friends intimidating because we all served in leadership.
I was a mess. I started second-guessing my calling and thought I would have to step down from ministry in order to find my husband.
Who is going to want to date a girl who’s a pastor in her early twenties? No one!
Obviously, this is not true.
I know some incredibly talented and passionate woman of God who are highly effective in ministry. And, yes they are single and educated.
In life there is a season for everything. Paul teaches us in scripture that while we’re single we have a gift that allows us to devote more time to serving God and expanding His kingdom here on earth. It’s a simpler life!
1 Corinthians 7:7
Now, don’t get me wrong. I do want to get married, but most importantly I want to be faithful with the assignments God gives me right now! Many people actually meet their spouse while serving God faithfully in whatever field God has assigned to them.
Also, I was able to attend college full-time, work and serve in ministry all at the same time. Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Please, don’t believe that working in ministry will hinder growth in the area of education. It takes hard work and balance, but it’s doable if you manage your time and energy well.
Myth #3: Because of your age, you can only effectively preach to other young people.
So this myth ties into the first one I spoke about. I remember when I was younger I only felt that I could preach to other teenagers because no one else would listen to me.
However, I was surprised when I would preach on a Sunday morning and many middle aged baby boomers would express how touched they were by the message. I was only nineteen!
Now, I did get many speaking engagements to preach at local youth services or youth events. I understand that my age makes it easier to engage with a younger audience.
Despite this fact, I have learned through my years in ministry that God speaks through anyone to anyone. If your audience has willing hearts, they will receive the message no matter your age.
I have learned through my years in ministry that God speaks through anyone to anyone.
I have to be honest. I have gotten backlash and criticism in the past from older ministers due to my preaching style or the way I would lead worship.
When you’re young in ministry, you will make a ton of mistakes. I still cringe at the memory of some of things I said out of immaturity while ministering on the platform.
However, despite your different style of ministering, God will allow you to touch the lives of those you minister to, regardless of their age or yours.
Myth #4: Certain leadership positions within the church should be reserved only for older ministers.
Before becoming the youth pastor at my church, I had dreamed for years of leading young people. All throughout my early twenties I had a huge passion for middle and high school students.
However, when I expressed this passion to my leaders, they were quick to point out that I was too young to fulfill such an important role.
This was devastating for me.
I allowed the lie that certain leadership positions were not meant for me until I was older to keep me comfortably seated on a church pew. I was involved in ministry but I wasn’t pouring my heart out in service like I could have been. I was conforming to a standard others set for me.
While that has changed now, I never want to discourage another young individual from dreaming that they can effectively lead others. I believe that God positions us in His perfect timing, and that timing doesn’t always align with the ideas that others have of young people in the church.
Please be encouraged that if you have a dream to lead others or start a ministry, don’t let age define you. Do not pass up opportunities presented to you simply because you believe you will not be considered or respected because of your age. Do it anyways!
And if you are rejected, trust the God who called you. If He called you, He will position you in His perfect timing.
These are most of the common myths that I have believed or have heard about being young and in ministry. Now, I am only twenty-four years old, so sometimes I do struggle with believing these lies.
As an associate/youth pastor at my church, I have to constantly remind myself that my age is not a hindrance. It’s a blessing!
Getting to serve Jesus at a young age means I have the energy and time to devote myself more faithfully to the work of spreading the Gospel!
Have fun being young, y’all!
Our names are Carla and Paola. And yes…we are identical twins! We are pastors, ministers and young women who are absolutely in love with Christ. Our passion is to empower other young women through the message of Jesus Christ to fulfill their live’s purpose.
Although we are young (24 years old if you’re wondering) we have been preaching, teaching and serving in ministry for almost ten years. We hope that through our writing you may be encouraged and empowered to step into the calling that God has over YOUR life.
Thanks for reading!
Always praying for you,