You see, in ministry, I feel the worst way we could be described is normal. I came to this realization when studying 2 Corinthians 5 while speaking at a camp this past week. In it Paul says:
If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
I read this after I made a big mistake at the camp I was at. I called a group of students normal. They were so different than other students that I had met because they lived in community with one another and were passionate about Christ. And in my efforts to encourage and compliment them I messed up and called them normal. Then I realized that they were not the normal ones. The students I know who are choosing mediocrity and the way of the world are the normal ones. These students were "out of their minds" as we all should be.
Because in following Christ we are called to stand out and be unique and this is vitally important for us to remember as student pastors. In our desire to connect with students and bring them in to our ministries so they can meet Christ, we must be careful to make sure that we stand out and model Christ and not the world. Does this mean we can't have games and candy? No. But it does mean that we must remember that what draws students in is the fact that we are offering them something that the world cannot, a saving relationship with Christ, Christian community, and the life of hope, joy, and freedom that this brings.
But we also must speak this truth into the lives of our students. They need to know as followers of Christ they are to be different. And that if it gets pointed out to them that they are strange it is a good thing. So challenge yourself, your youth ministry, and the students in it to not be normal. Be as far from normal as you can be. Be like Jesus.