I came to the Lord when I was 19 years of age and almost immediately started working for the Lord in a drama ministry where my wife and I were the leaders (we had just recently gotten married). We worked with young people from 16-20 years of age. I remember how I used to think I was to young to lead. How can a young person lead another young person? I made many mistakes, but I learned from them. I used to try to lead people the same age as me inside the church, but I also tried to fit in with them outside of the church with the intention of building a relationship with them. That lead them to not think of me as a leader/mentor but as another one of their friends.
That brought many frustrations to my life because when I would try to give them advice, they would mention what I was doing wrong too, because I had my flaws and imperfections known to the people I was trying to lead. As the years passed, I started working in the Youth Ministry with my wife. I came to realize that it is possible for a young person to lead another young person by example. It does not matter what your age might be. The word of God says, “Do not let anyone look down at you because you are young but be an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” I started asking God for wisdom, and telling Him that I wanted to learn how to be an example for others. All I need to do is love Him and let Him love me. I understood that He does all the work in transforming me, and by being a reflection of Him, people start seeking for you to direct them to Him. As I mentioned before, I was just recently ordained Youth Pastor in my church and I am not going to lie, sometimes I still doubt if other people see me as too young or if they even take me seriously as I’m working with the youth, (you know, given the fact that I work with minors and their parents are older, experienced and old-school HA-HA) but God has given me grace and I have learned to set an example to those I am trying to lead and those who surround me as well. This has given me authority and I have gained the trust of parents and older people. It has also formed an image of a mentor and Pastor to my youth and the youth outside of the church as well. I think we are never too young to be a reflection of Jesus, and once we do that, we become and example, and that makes you a leader worth following.
Manuel Castillo is 25 years old; is married and has a four-year-old daughter. He is a full-time employee at an Alarm Company called VIVINT and he was recently anointed and ordained as a Youth Pastor in his church.