As part of our continuing series of profiles of women serving in youth ministry, we visit with Terrin Ramsey, a youth pastor serving at Cross Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She has been involved in youth ministry for four years, and has been officially a youth pastor for almost one year. Terrin has been married for three years to her "awesome husband, Brett. We don't have any children yet, but have become 'those people' who treat their pet like a child. He's a 1 year old tabby named Thor." Terrin is the author of the blog Adventures in Youth Ministry.
What do you find most enjoyable about your ministry with youth in the Church?
I love to see students grow. I love to see them have “aha” moments in their lives where they finally get what it means to serve Jesus with their whole existence. I love to see them develop their gifts and talents and to see them discover how to use them to glorify God. I’ve been around some of our youth long enough to say “don’t you remember when you were in middle school four years ago? I thought you were the most annoying person in the universe... My how you’ve grown since then!” There are not many opportunities in life to pour into students, and I am so blessed to do it every single day!
I also love working with my volunteer team. They are an absolute riot! Ministry would definitely not be the same without that dedicated group of people!
What do you find most challenging about your ministry with youth in the Church?
Sideways energy. If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology, it is basically the problem of being “busy” versus being “productive.” In ministry, a lot of people want your attention, want you to buy their latest product, to use their curriculum, to program things a certain way, to host this special event, to invest more time in person A. If you are not intentional about what it is your ministry is trying to achieve, if you’re not 100% sure what God wants you to pursue in ministry, everything will become sideways energy and your attention will be spread over a maze of chaos. It’s taken me a few years to come to this place and to develop a simple plan for ministry that cannot easily be derailed. Even within the realm of my gifts and talents, I often have to come back to the place where I ask myself, “Why do I come to work every day and do this again? Is this moving us forward?” Even in the context of good things, I have to remember that the Apostle Paul taught that everything is permissible, but not beneficial. So whenever I feel tempted to stray from our plan for ministry, I come back to the vision: “Why do we do what we do the way we do it?”
What shifts or changes would you like to see in youth ministry in the next decade?
It really bothers me that the position of Youth Pastor is seen as “the farm team” for the big league job of Senior Pastor. How is it possible that so many eager and excited young pastors can only want to succeed in youth ministry to leverage themselves for a more powerful position? I’d love to see more youth pastors stay in youth ministry and create a more stable environment for students to grow in!
What would you say to women who are considering a call to ministry with youth? Are there particular challenges or advantages to being a woman in this area of ministry?
All of the cliches about youth ministry being a “boy job” are absolutely true. You will receive a lot of flack from parents, students, church members and members of the community. But you don’t work for them. You work for God. If He is calling you in that direction, work hard, listen to His voice, and let the results speak for themselves!
(Would you or someone you know be a good person to profile for this ongoing series? Contact us!)