Youth Pastor of the Month: February 2020

Posted on by YFC Seattle

Summer Rodgers - Youth Pastor at Rain City Church

Every month, we will be featuring a local Youth Pastor of the month! This is a fun way to learn a little more about the amazing people who are leading students closer to Christ in our community!  This month, we have our friend Summer Rodgers, who recently became the full time Youth Pastor at Rain City Church in Bellevue. Summer has an exuberant joy and a compassionate heart.  Get to know Summer!

Describe a time you laughed so hard you cried in Youth Ministry? 
Last Thanksgiving, we hosted a turkey bowling tournament in our youth hall. About 30 kids competed for a Bob Ross chia pet. It was mayhem. In turkey bowling, we basically rolled kids on a scooter into four feet high inflatable bowling pins. It was hilarious, loud, and goofy. I definitely laughed until I cried! 

When did you KNOW that Youth Ministry was a CALLING for your life? 
I have always enjoyed working with youth as a volunteer, but I think I really accepted the calling for my life during the interview process for the Rain City Youth Pastor this past summer! I had been asked to consider the role shortly after it opened, but declined, as I was working as a business leader in Bellevue and didn’t see myself leaving that career. Jesus continued to change my heart over the next few months, and I continued to reject the notion of moving from Corporate America to full-time ministry. 

The interview process continued on, and as a youth leader, I was asked to be a part of the interviews  for the new Youth Pastor. After each interview, I kept referring to the our youth ministry as “my kids”. Will the next Youth Pastor support, lead, and mentor “my kids”? How will “my kids” adjust to the impending changes in our ministry”?

Through a series of beautiful interactions with dear friends, mentors, and Rain City staff, I finally said YES to Jesus. I cling to the peace I felt that day, as it was a tangible, life-changing feeling. Jesus continues to amaze me with the leaders he has placed in my life during this transition to coach and guide me to this calling!  

How do you know you have had a "good day" as a Youth Leader? 
I consider a “good day” any time I get to watch our students serve one another and build connections on how to develop their own personal relationship with Jesus. Our  student leaders are currently going through a devotional series called Leading Like Jesus, which is a study taking us through the leadership characteristics we see Jesus display throughout the Bible. The week we focused on teamwork, it was so inspiring to see our students jump in and help with set-up and tear down of our youth hall, even when the item they were working with may not have been a part of their sub-team (i.e., a tech team member supporting our creative team). As Kingodm builders we work as one team, sharing the Gospel and working together to spread Christ’s love. We use that same principle in our youth hall: one team, one mission.

Describe a time that you felt like crying so much that all you could do was laugh in Youth Ministry? 
The morning of the Friday our youth ministry was expecting to leave for Winter Camp, I received a call that we would not be able to travel to our location, as the road was closed due to mudslides. In that moment, I certainly wanted to cry, but instead found myself laughing at the predicament. I asked the team what we could do to continue Winter Camp (we were leaving in about 6 hours!). Thankfully, the team we were working with was so accommodating and supportive. Life in youth ministry is full of unexpected moments and quick changes. You have to be adaptable! The beauty in these moments is that Jesus’s plan is always so much greater than ours! Our kids and leaders were safe, and we had an absolute blast! 

How do you navigate family life with Youth Ministry? 
Having a family and supporting a youth ministry has certainly made me more intentional about planning my time and setting boundaries. As a recovering procrastinator, I really have to plan ahead and identify pockets of time that I am reserving for my family. 

However, sometimes youth ministry provides unique opportunities to integrate work and home life. For instance, ONE night is a family event for us. Sometimes family life also looks like helping prepare for camp or joining me at a game for one of our youth. 

Navigating family life is about striking the balance between protecting time as a family and integrating them into youth activities. 

What is one thing you wish someone had told you before beginning in Youth Ministry?
Working in youth ministry, well ministry in general, is personal. Often times, that means we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable. In a corporate world, there is often a clear separation of work and life. In ministry, we are building God’s Kingdom; this often means we are opening our hearts and sharing our story to reveal God’s grace and goodness. I don’t think I had prepared myself for how emotional and beautiful it can be let people into my life, but also how honored I would feel that they would let me into theirs! 

What is your favorite TRUE statement when playing "Two Truths and a Lie"? 
This game is always so fun. You learn so much about people! It always astounds people when I say, “I have four siblings and the age gap from youngest to oldest is ~25 years!”

Thank You, Summer, for investing in young people! If you want to connect with Summer, follow her on Instagram: summer_rodgers or join us at our next Eastside Youth Ministry Network gathering!

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