rebelling against low expectations

Can God use teenagers to do serious ministry?


CARSON WRITES: I feel that God is calling me to ministry, but how can young teens like me (14-years-old) help people turn to Christ? I don’t think people as young as me can do big things until we’re older and have more opportunities. But what can I do now?

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are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected].


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  • Oooh, hard question. I’m 15 (almost 16), and I too sometimes feel like I need to do more but can’t until I’m older. I love being with people, hearing what their problems are, praying for them (BTW, if anyone needs prayer, hit me up)… So I started just being there for my friends, offering to pray for them if I knew they had a problem. Of course, that’s just me, and it doesn’t seem really big, but I found later that at one point my support really meant a lot to a friend. I’ve found that kids ministries really seem to always need people, and although I grew up not doing Sunday School, I’ve helped with VBS programs around here, and they’ve been some of my fondest memories and I feel like I’m doing something important.
    Also, sometimes you have to be in the “preparation stage” for a while, and then God will show you what He wants you to do for Him. For me, I had to learn to trust Him with *everything* for what seemed like forever. Now I see that if I hadn’t gone through that preparation, I would probably have a hard time dealing with knowing what my friends are going through, so I really needed that time, even if I was impatient at the time. Hope this helps!

    • Wonderful answer! A ministry of prayer is VERY important, quite possibly the MOST important (for without it NO ministry and function as God intends it to). And children’s ministry is also super-important =vD And you gave good advice about a “preparation stage,” it is very true!

  • Hi Carson,

    I’m so glad that God is calling you to ministry (though, to be precise, He calls all of us to that)! I believe there are a couple of paths He could be leading you down during this time in your life.

    1) Preparation. If you feel that God wants you to be involved in ministry (and more specifically, the “big things”), He may not be calling you to do it right now. If that’s the case, open yourself to opportunities to grow. God will guide and shape you into a person that can best fulfill what He’s calling you to do. So prepare. Spend time in prayer and in the Word, and look for ways that you can serve today. Whether volunteering in Sunday school or VBS, or helping to clean your church or anything, it can help you grow as a Christian even if it’s not directly involved in what you feel God is calling you to do.

    2) Ministry! And by this I mean that God could put you where He’s calling you to be immediately. Now, I don’t know what your situation is, so this may or may not be applicable to you. Clearly, there are some things that we simply can’t do at our age. However, don’t be too hasty to say you can’t do something because it’s not “normal” for it to be done at our age. When I was thirteen (which was three years ago now), I had the opportunity to join my worship team. I even led worship on my own a few times that year. I never, ever expected that to happen, but God does amazing things! So just because you’re young doesn’t necessarily mean that God can’t use you now–it just depends on your situation.

    However things turn out, there are a few things you should do no matter what. Read your Bible and pray. Look for the doors that God is opening in your life. Find ministry opportunities, because I promise you, they’re there. And if God leads you into a ministry, don’t see it as the destination. See it as another step as God prepares you for something incredible!

    God bless!

  • The answer to your question is “YES, Absolutely!” (Though it may look different that you think it “should” look like. Just because you are young – well look at Timothy in the Bible – He was young. So was the Apostle John.

    From personal experience, I know that 13-14 year olds can do a lot. For one, you have lots of energy and time that older people don’t. When I was 13, God gave me the opportunity to organize our church’s VBS snacks. Our church is rather large, so that meant planning snacks for 250-300 children for five nights as inexpensively as I could! I continued doing that till this past summer (I’m now 18), when I handed it over to my 15 year old sister, while I organized preschool rec.

    As Christy said below, your young teens are a great time for preparation. Take time to spend time with God. Practice writing, or speaking in public, or graphic design or power point or what ever God has gifted you in. Check out opportunities in your community and church. Do the classrooms need an extra hand? Can you join the tech team? Can you lead a Bible study? And like mimeforJesus said, prayer has a huge impact on your friends and the rest of the world.

    Be open to where God is leading you. He will open doors. Thanks for asking!
    In Christ,

  • Hey Carson, first, THANK YOU!
    About six months ago, I also felt the call to full time ministry, which is far from what I thought I wanted to do (NFL Football). I have faced that question so much. I feel like, I know what I think God wants me to do, but I feel like there’s not much to start with.

    Your story here sounds so familiar to me, so this is what I’ve done so far,

    What really sparked my interested in Ministry, is when I preached a 15 minute sermon to 50 middle school kids.

    First, after that, I told my youth leader/mentor. He then and is still looking for more and more opportunities for me to get me involved.
    Since then, I have been able to read a Bible passage, to 200 middle and high-school kids and teach a middle school small group table. I am hoping to get some more awesome opportunities in the near future.

    In the meantime, I try to act as charismatically, kindly, and “righteously” (for lack of a better word) to the other students in the Remedy Student Ministry, both Middle and High School students. This way, when I do have opportunities to speak, they will be more receptive and God can use me for greater opportunities in the future.

    But, (something you will hear a lot on this site) it all starts with the small things. Like a latter, you have start small to go higher. For me, to get that 15 minute sermon, I had to do an hour of work at thee church for a week, for about 2 months first. (Which was awesome anyway.)

    So, in the end, in answer to your question, “Yes, God can use teenagers in serious ministry. We just need to start small and climb that latter, with the help of your youth pastor and/or mentor, and most importantly, God.

    Marry Christmas and God bless you!
    – Trent

  • Carson,
    Your life is ministry. You are witnessing by standing separate. Ministry is not a destination. It is every day. As a leader in youth for many years, I would hear your concern all of the time. At your young age, this is a time to deeply study the Word of God. Good resources can be found at You also witness for Christ by loving those with His kindness, always having an answer for the hope that is in you and by showing Your love for Him by separating from the world–not in a condemning way but in a right way. Pray always for those that are in your life’s arena that God do a work in their hearts to receive Him. I was most impressed as a lost person by someone who loved God, was not condemning, understood I was lost, lived for God in all of his daily activities, and showed godly kindness to others. After all, it is God’s lovingkindness that leads us to repentance. This can be done by any age. And no ministry of any kind, be it prayer, service, sowing, reaping, witnessing is any greater than any other. God gets the glory for it all.

    I pray The Lord will bless you, keep you and may His face shine upon you.

    In Him Always,

  • All of these are great suggestions. I have something I would like to add, though. My dad used to be an assistant pastor and I have grown up in the ministry. One of the most important things I’ve done as a young person is going out door knocking on Saturdays, inviting people to church. I am not yet comfortable “Soul-winning” but I can knock on a door and invite people to Church. There’s just one thing about doing this, When you go it is important for safety reasons that you go with someone (i.e. a friend, youth worker, parent, or sibling).

  • Carson I TOTALLY get it. I feel that way a lot too(I’m your age), and recently I’ve started a blog that I’ve prayed over and prayed over that God’s words will come into that blog. I love to write, so that is a ministry outlet for me. What do you like to do? “Whatever you do, do it in the name of the LORD…” You can use what you love or feel called to do as an outlet. Singers use music as an outlet, writers use books and blogs, and speakers speak. Now, I’m not saying that’s the only thing they do, but do you get the gist? Even sport players use their sport as an outlet of their faith. Just pray about it, and I promise God will answer you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Another thing too. Just by living God’s Word will turn MANY, unknown to you, hearts to Christ. I’ve found that when you practice what you preach, people will want to be like that. If you are happy and content in Christ, people will wonder what you have and they will want it. Some of the best things ever said, weren’t even spoken. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ll pray for ya!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes! Lol, totally forgot until I read this comment… I have a blog ministry too! ๐Ÿ˜› It’s such a great way to encourage and challenge people.

  • Hey Carson, great question! When I was your age, I was only just recently saved, but very soon afterward I felt a strong burden for my generation. And while God has not yet revealed to me His specific direction in ministry for me, there are a few pieces if advice I would give.

    Just start doing stuff. As others have mentioned, the important thing is that you first resemble Christ in thought, word, and deed. BE a Christian first, then DO your specific ministry. If you know your specific calling, great! Start assisting someone at your church. Start a Bible study. Just start doing things that correspond to your ministry. You can definitely start doing things in ministry even at a young age. It’s what the Rebelution movement is all about!

    As for leading people to Christ, we are ALL called to do that, no matter how young. But don’t look at it as just another job. It’s sharing the good news! Start by being the example, and then God will give you opportunity to share the “why.” Other people on this thread have shared some really good things, so I’ll stop here.

    Blessings in our Lord and Savior!

  • Carson, It’s great that you are wanting to respond to God’s call right away. Age is only a number of the years you have lived but it doesn’t indicate the impact you can have. To your question, my answer is yes! I am 20 years old now but got started in ministry (officially) when I was your age and I’m so glad that I did since it has helped prepare me for what’s ahead and grow me closer to God. Here are some tips to add to the others you have been given from others.

    Study God’s Word: It’s easy to buy into the lie that serious study of the Bible is something you can do at seminary, bible collage or when you are out of school but not something for right now. Just do it. Make a habit of reading and studying God’s Word constantly right now and it will be easier for you later. Get involved in a Bible study (if you aren’t already in one) and find people who can keep you accountable. Make prayer a priority. It may not seem like much but it will make a big difference now and later.

    Grow your gifts: Find ways to use the talents God has given you. Whether it’s music, technology, art, teaching or anything else you can use it to minister to others. It might mean working in the sound booth at church, leading Bible study at school, or teaching a sibling in a way that honors God. Ask God to show you places where you can use what you have been given. The things you develop right now can be great assets for the future.

    Get involved: Find some way to get involved in a local ministry. This often will include your talents that you know of but don’t be afraid to try things you may not be gifted in. You may find that it’s not something God has for you but it may also be God way of showing you just what you are to do. Get involved in the ministries of your church and family. My family distributes clothes for the homeless so that’s something I do as well as singing at some of the services at a local nursing home that my church does. I’m not good at singing and I’m scared of downtown Detroit but it ministry opportunities that God has given me. Try out different things to get a feel for what God is calling you to.

    Be flexible: Not in body but in your plans. God’s timing isn’t your timing. You may think that you have it figured out (the plan; this is what I’m going to do, where I’ll go) but God may redirect your focus later in the future. Be open to His leading and be willing to change what you had planned.

    Witness: When I was 14 didn’t know how to share my faith. I knew the gospel but if someone had asked I couldn’t have told them how know Christ. If you don’t know how to share your faith talk to your parents, pastor or someone you know who witnesses about how you can. If you already know then that’s great, just make sure you do it. I’m terrified to witness (very shy, quite person here :)) but it’s something that God always gives the strength for. Don’t just learn one way to share the gospel either, learn as many ways as you can. Different methods, same message. Some may work better for you than others so if something doesn’t work don’t just give up and say it’s not for me. A great ministry that has helped me is Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). They have training specifically designed for people your age to help you learn to witness to kids and adults in your local area. In fact, CEF’s summer ministry is done mostly by people under the age of 19. The website is, just go to locations to find a contact person in your area that can get you more info. They have great training for any ministry God calls you to.

    Hope these tips will help you as you go into ministry. You may not be called to do those big things you dream about just yet but work on the small things here and now. Then you will be ready when the big things come. Or you might look back and realize that all those small things were just the pieces of the big thing you were right in the middle of but couldn’t see. Merry Christmas!

    P.S. Sorry about the short essay here. I get so excited when someone get’s called into ministry that I get carried away sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Yes we can, I was 13 when I first went on a mission. Now am 20yrs. Looking back through all those years I see God has been preparing me to be doing what I do now. I have been doing ministry and learning more about God plus I enjoy seeing lives change just by obeying His voice and following His lead. Friend, If He is calling you He wants to use you. Remember God doesn’t use the Big ones only but even us who think we are still young He can use us and the stories here just make it more clear.

  • As long as you hear that God is calling you for something big, accept it and do not run from it. Remember Jonas, when he also heard that God is calling, first, he refused to do his mission, but God insisted. He made a way, he qualified Jonas, even if Jonas felt that he isn’t qualified.

  • Carson: Can God use teenagers to do serious ministry?
    Answer: Yes, of course. History has many examples, but, from my own experience: I was 14 when I went through a CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) training course and started helping with Good News Clubs held in public schools and elsewhere. After a few years of that, the Lord let me go on my first missions trip to Mozambique, Africa, for two and a half months when I was 18. Upon my return, I continued with children’s ministry until the Lord sent me to a Bible College in South Africa when I was 19. But the important step came (and this answers your question of “what can I do now?”) when I was 17: I was sick and tired of being spiritually weak; not really reading my Bible and not really praying and–as a result–not having a victorious Christian life. When God did get me start reading my Bible (at age 17) it completely changed my life. My spiritual life took off like a rocket and I never wanted to stop! It was like giving regular portions of food to a starving man (of course a starving man can’t be efficient on the battlefield). And then a year later, the Lord got me to start praying, and later to pray more and more.

    So I would say that the best thing you can do now to prepare yourself for ministry would be to deepen your walk with the Lord through Bible-reading and prayer. Then you could pray about where the Lord wants you to help, like joining a ministry at your church and/or passing out Gospel tracts. Remember that ministry isn’t just something trivial and a leisurely pursuit: we are in a serious spiritual battle with the forces of darkness and a Christian involved in ministry should take it seriously and the evidence that they do indeed take it seriously is that they pray for their outreach efforts and for the protection of themselves and their teammates.

    โ€œIf you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.โ€ โ€“Isaiah 7:9b NIV

    • That’s my Favorite verse! ๐Ÿ˜€ Isaiah 7:9 “If your faith is not enduring, you will not endure.”

  • I’ve bwen doing ministry since I was 12, I control the Facebook page called “The ChristIan Soldier” my posts have slowed doan but I’m trying to get back into it.

  • Carson, you can do big things now. You may not be lead to, but don’t believe you CAN’T. In terms of what ‘littler’ things you can do now, I think everyone else has covered it nicely. Grow you gifts. Read the Bible. Pray, lots. Learn to witness. Take up opportunities in your church and community.

  • I sometimes feel the same way. And while I think God can use anyone of any age to minister, I also believe that it’s probably a good idea to see if he’s calling you to grow as a Christian or to create a deeper relationship with him first so that you can make the biggest impact. Just be patient! God will reveal his plans for you when the time is right.

  • A few bible verses I find helpful to remember…

    “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” 1 Timothy 4:12

    “โ€œAlas, Sovereign Lord,โ€ I said, โ€œI do not know how to speak; I am too young.โ€
    But the Lord said to me, โ€œDo not say, โ€˜I am too young.โ€™ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,โ€ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:6-8

    “For I know the plans I have for you,โ€ declares the Lord, โ€œplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
    Remember how Abram left for a land that God promised him BEFORE God told him where it was! God simply said “go” and that was enough. Abram trusted that God would reveal what he needed to know when he needed to know it.
    I have also felt the call to the mission field, and for now, I am memorizing scripture, praying, and learning as many things as I can that I might need to go. Ancient Greek may seem more practical, but perhaps God will make use of my algebra skills… The great thing about being a Christian is that if God wants you to be somewhere or do something, he will get you there. Remember Jonah…
    “Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will make thy paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

  • Hey Carson,
    I feel you. I am fourteen as well, and sometimes it is hard to get involved in ministry at such an early age. Ministering to others, showing them the light of Christ, can have many different forms. Of course, there are mission trips you could probably get involved in at church, and then there is helping a mom in the store parking lot with her bags. If you are active in a youth group, help out by showing up early or staying late. You can welcome new kids into the youth group, and keep in touch with others you think might be struggling with faith.
    If you don’t have opportunities like this, make your own opportunities. Go to nursing home and talk with the residence, pass out Bible verses on note cards. Offer to babysit a couple’s kids for free so they can have a date night.
    Probably the best way you can witness is being a living Bible. Make it a daily challenge to show Christ’s love so that people don’t even need to ask if your a Christian. And you don’t have to be perfect either. I helped lead one of my best friends to Christ through my actions in God’s love, even after I screwed up our relationship BIG TIME.
    There are so many ways you can spread the light of Christ, Carson.
    God Bless!!

    • That’s so cool about leading your friend to Christ! I wish I had opportunities like that. I don’t really know a lot of non-Christians my age and the few teens I do know, I’m not really close to.

  • The Bible says in 1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young…” God doesn’t care if you’re a teenager or an adult. As a thirteen year old girl who feels called to ministry, I completely understand where you are coming from. Try reaching out to the people in your school or activities who need Jesus in their lives. If you live in Canada, try looking up an organization called Street Invaders. They help you learn how to minister as teens.

  • Just yesterday, walking along the beach after church. I saw about 9 shells on a table.
    Each one had a small message. “Jesus loves you”, “Jesus heals pain”.
    We can do small things. ๐Ÿ˜€
    God bless

  • Carson,
    I’m pretty sure that most of us feel the way you do at one time or another.
    You CAN do great things even just at 14. When you live your life as a godly Christian, people will take notice and that may lead to a door for witnessing. Preparing to do great things means just waiting on the Lord for His timing and will for our lives.
    1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Donโ€™t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
    God bless as you see what God has in store for you!

  • I’m 14 too, and I try to make a difference in the world even now at this young age. I understand that as adults, we will have different opportunities than we do now, but we won’t necessarily have more. Use the opportunities you have now. Don’t wait for when you’re older. It may feel like you don’t really have opportunities now, but you do. Every situation that presents itself to you is an opportunity to either do what’s right or what’s wrong. For example, you might not agree with your siblings about something. That’s an opportunity to do something hard. You could get into a fight with them or decide to love them and respect their opinion. In terms of doing big, important things, I think it’s important to remember that God’s view of what’s important may be different from our view. Jesus said, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” So basically we’re not supposed to do ‘big’ things to be seen by others. Yes, we should do things that are hard, but nowhere in the Bible does it say. “You should have a successful ministry.” I’m not saying ministry doesn’t bring glory to God, but reaching out to your friends and non-Christians you know now is ministry, and you CAN do that now. Don’t wait! I hope this is helpful. Thanks.

    • I also agree with what people are saying about using your teen-years to plan and prepare for a larger ministry. I want to be a missionary one day, and now, I am learning the language of where I want to go. My midterm is actually coming up on Tuesday, so you can pray for me.

          • Cool ๐Ÿ™‚ Is it really hard? I’ve always wanted to learn Arabic, but I’m only learning Spanish right now. I figure once I’ve learned one second language, theoretically it should be easier to learn another. And there’s no homeschool co-ops available to learn Arabic right now ๐Ÿ™ What type of school do you go to?

          • Goods news for you: my mom is from Argentina and so I know Spanish! Knowing Spanish actually has helped me with Arabic, even though Arabic has an entirely different alphabet. A lot of the vowel sounds in Arabic are similar to Spanish vowel sounds. I am also homeschooled. I do online classes for both my English and Arabic with a Christian organization/online school called The Potters School. Here’s a link to their home page if you’re interested:

          • Oh, wow! That’s great to know! I love the idea of that website – too bad I’m halfway through the year already. I hope I can do it next year!!!

  • I personally struggle with this too. I’m fourteen-going-on-fifteen, and I feel like I’m too small to make a serious impact in the world. Sometimes I feel like God hasn’t opened any doors for me to make an impact, and that he wont until I’m older. (I just wrote about this yesterday on my blog. You can check it out at

    The truth is, when God hasn’t opened any big doors for us (big as in traveling to the heart of Africa and touching the lives of orphans) he does give us opportunities to be his light in the midst of darkness. I use my free time to blog, study the Bible, make cards for orphans, sponsor a child, and save my money for a mission trip. Always look for ways to take your circumstances and use them for God’s glory.

    • Don’t ever underestimate the mundane. Every action has consequences, even the smallest of them.

      God bless!

      PS:Take a look at the post above some of them are really good. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I honestly think YES, YES, and YES!!! God uses EVERYONE!! Look at Paul(Saul) he killed people!! Yet God used him in so many ways after he was saved! And 1 Timothy 4:12 “Donโ€™t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

  • God can DEFINITELY use teenagers to do serious ministry. That’s what this site is about, and what the book Do Hard Things talks about. We shouldn’t be wasting our time partying and just going through high school drama; we should be using our talents and what God has given us to do bigger things. Like the verse that’s at the center of this site: we are never too young. The Twelve Disciples of Jesus were actually just teenagers, and some of them were probably younger than we are when Jesus called for them to follow Him. Yet they did amazing things in His name. Just because we’re teenagers doesn’t mean we should live the low expectations the world has set for us; we should go out and break the mold, and do what others never would have thought would be possible for kids our age.

    One place you can start is just in your everyday environment: home, school, church. You can start talking to the kids who are alone in the back of the room all the time, because sometimes that means the world to them. Or you can encourage people by even just smiling at them and asking how they’re doing. As teens it’s really easy to just think about ourselves, but we should turn our attention outside and start looking out for the needs of those around us. You don’t necessarily have to go on a missions trip to do serious ministry; sometimes my church will send out small groups (teenagers and adults alike) to go around praying for neighborhoods, and also just talking to people they feel like God has led them to. Don’t be ashamed or afraid to talk about your faith.

    Also, one big part of ministry is just remembering that YOU’RE not doing the saving; God is. You’re just helping to lead the horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink. That’s up to God. What you can do is tell others about Christ, then pray for them on a daily basis, and keep contact with them and try to answer their questions. If you can’t, that’s fine, because nobody has all the answers. If you don’t know, try asking your parents or pastors, and just search for the answer with the person.

  • The lie is that you can’t make a difference.

    I am telling you now that you can, but you have to have faith/belief that God is strong enough to use you. On top of that, you have to prepare for opportunity. Pray for opportunity, and you will get it. It might not be the opportunity you expect, but in any case, don’t get scared of sharing the gospel.

    I believe that the reason you are not sharing is that you don’t feel prepared. First off, you have to know what the gospel is. The gospel is, that Christ died for our sin and rose from the grave. Next, what is saving faith? Saving faith is this, knowing and accepting Christ as our only means of salvation. We are not saved by our deeds, just by our acceptance and faith in Christ.

    Now what about opportunity? There is always opportunity, fear and lack of confidence in Christ is what will hold you back.

    You can, you can, you can make a difference!

    God bless!

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectationsโ€”a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More โ†’