Youth Pastor: Feed Yourself Before Feeding Others

Written by The Feed Team

on April 5, 2022


If you’re familiar with The Office, you may recall the scene where Michael famously asks, “What’s better: a medium amount of good pizza, or all you can eat pretty good pizza?” What he’s describing is the debate of quality versus quantity.

We live in a world of nonstop excess. Social media, advertisements, school, friends, work, family, and more. But like an all-you-can-eat buffet of mediocrity, it often leaves us feeling empty. Satisfaction is not quantity or quality, but nourishment.

In the Bible, Jesus is often referred to as the “Good Shepherd.” This is because a shepherd knows his sheep need food and knows where they can find it. Teens have plenty to eat already, but there is only one kind of “bread” that brings life and fulfillment. The full story of God’s redemptive love and His plan to ultimately bring us to full satisfaction in Him is what we all crave. As youth leaders, our call and our privilege is the call of a shepherd — to lead students to true sustenance and satisfaction.

Teenagers are following you as you are following Christ. What does your diet look like? How closely are you following the Good Shepherd into green pastures? When’s the last time you laid down in fulfillment of all He’s done? If your students can’t see how God satisfies you, why would they want it?

The best way to feed others is to be fed ourselves. If you want a good restaurant recommendation, ask the well-fed person. If you want your teenagers to have satisfying food, you better crave it first and dine from the Source. When we let God shepherd us, we know the path to lead others well.

While working in India, Pastor DT Niles said, “Christianity is simply one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.”

As youth leaders, we are the beggars with Good News for the hungry. Jesus brought us good news in our starvation. Matthew 9:36 says: “When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” We are shepherds to our students, but we are also God’s sheep. Our goal is to guide students to Jesus—our Shepherd and satisfying Source. 

Ultimately, we are conduits of the Good Shepherd. We are simply passing nourishment along with open hands. Having been saved, fed, cared for, and satisfied, we are an evangelist of satisfaction – a raving Yelp review of a perfect meal that God gives us daily. Not only are we recommending where to get life changing nourishment, but we are pastorally feeding students the right things at the right times.

Let’s renew the way of the Shepherd by allowing ourselves to be shepherded by Jesus first. Stir up your hunger for the things of God and lead your students to a well that will never run dry and will truly satisfy the desires of their souls.

Action Steps:

  1. Reflect on whether you have spent time being nourished by Jesus through His Word, by being in community with others, and through prayer and rest.  
  2. Check out this conversation we had on Feed Lead where we discuss scripture engagement and how to lead students to read and meditate on the Word of God. 
  3. Download our FREE 4-week small group series, The Bible, to dive deeper into this topic.
  4. The Feed Team would love to connect with you as you seek to make changes in your youth ministry. Reach out to us at [email protected] to find out how we can partner with and support you in your ministry.
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