"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son" (John 3:16).
Youth ministry is tough because we often are called to love unloveable kids. Many years ago in my first youth ministry job, I discovered an entire hoard of these creatures. There were kids who stirred up trouble; kids who couldn't be controlled; kids who cursed, spat and wreaked havoc. It was difficult finding any reason to love them.
I constantly had to remind myself God loved them. God loved them first. It wasn't my job to create a way for God to love them. This already had been accomplished. All I could do was love them because God loved me, too.
We don't always have people in our circles of influence who are loveable. In fact, some people are rude, crude and downright hostile toward our ministry. This is especially saddening when these folks are part of our youth group—but they also show us an opportunity to demonstrate how God loves.
Because ministry is difficult, we do well to remember first and foremost the love of God. The world, in fact, revolves around this deep agape.
While we are at it, we also have to accept this divine love for ourselves. We need to understand that especially during the trying times, our foundations can remain unshaken when we lean on the love of God. This is the center from which all ministry flows.
Give thanks today for God's love. Give thanks that God loves you. Give thanks that you can love others. God is, in fact, counting on it.