The Future of Youth Ministry

Future of Youth Ministry

I read through this article and agreed with a lot of the observations of youth ministry but was feeling a little empty when it came to the conclusions. Why don’t you tell me what you think?


6 comments on “The Future of Youth Ministry

  1. Beth'sMomToo says:

    A number of ideas popped into my head:

    We need to be careful not to get caught up in Arminian thinking – God is Sovereign, He chooses, He regenerates, we respond in faith. Creating an approach that feeds on the idea that we can somehow “convince” a blind person to see would be in error. [That is NOT to say that we should not evangelize. We evangelize precisely BECAUSE God is able to save!]

    Part of our personal cultural myopia is viewing teens as an isolated species, a separate population, an animal of a different stripe. This is actually a pretty recent Western POV that developed in the 60’s. It’s not universal, nor historical.

    Someone made a good point about the danger of someone possessing “religiosity”, but not faith. Jim Eliff made a comment about being careful that we’re not creating Pharisees. This is especially true of 2nd generation believers. When I believed on the Lord I was an adult with a very clear picture of life from the other side. Someone raised in a Christian home, attending a Bible preaching church all their life needs to hit the point where the faith is theirs – not their parents’, not their church’s.

    As an encouragement – remember sometimes we don’t see the results until someone is well out of their teen years. I came across some old sermon tapes of Loren’s that had been relegated to the top of the lost and found container at church. Needless, to say…I thought I had found a goldmine!! I was quick to grab them to listen to and preserve. (Oh- just hearing his voice again made me smile!) I was listening to a sermon he gave from Romans about saving faith being evidenced in your life. He read a letter he had received from a young woman FBC had ministered to as a teen, and he had thought was lost. She was writing to him as a married woman who had recently come to the Lord and was wanting to let him know how valuable his ministry had been to her during her teen years and to ask for prayer in her growing relationship with the Lord. For those of you who may remember – it was from Cheryl Irwin!! My socks were blown off!! He’s right – that’s encouraging news to anyone whoever taught her, took the time to listen to and encourage her… It was SUCH encouraging news that you just want to drop to your knees and thank God for it!!

    God requires that we be faithful to do the job He requires of us. Period. It is He who brings forth the fruit…in His timing.
    I am reminded of one of my favorite MacArthur quotes, “I take care of the depth of my ministry and let God take care of its breadth.” Amen.

  2. Jen says:

    viewing teens as an isolated species, a separate population, an animal of a different stripe. Well…I think that may be true, having a teen myself! 🙂

    REALLY though, we had the opportunity to attend the Josh McDowell conference last month. WOW! What he kept repeating is that the kids need to SEE our faith, to BELIEVE our faith. Show the kids that everyday is a work in progress. Just because we are adults doesn’t mean that we all of the sudden “get it” we have to all work on our faith. We are tested and put to the fire to see where we really need to be refined, when the teens see that they see just how real we are.
    Doing youth group this summer with Chris was great. He really opened up to the kids. showed them things that we as adults don’t always want the kids to see like our …frustrations, failures ect. Somehow the kids can view parents and adults as having it all together, so they think “their faith is a natural thing”, BUT what they miss so many times is the hours in the closet wrestling and struggling with things. Maybe they need to see it more. From all adults not just mom and dads.

    “Jim Eliff made a comment about being careful that we’re not creating Pharisees. This is especially true of 2nd generation believers.”…I think when they see our lives then they can see our faith more clearly.

    If the teens are coming from unbelieving homes it is still the same, show them everyday how we need to depend on God and just how faithful he is and shows us his love, grace, mercy. open up and really let the kids see. This generation of teens is such a visual generation (thanks to ALL the media out there) They really need to see it work to believe it for themselves.

    Yes, “God requires that we be faithful to do the job He requires of us. Period. It is He who brings forth the fruit…in His timing.” So, it is up to us to pray, teach and lives a life that will glorify God in all we do to show the kids. But it isn’t alway a guarantee! I wish it was but, I am not sure who’s names are in that Book of Life. (I would love to get a peek!)
    I am just so thankful that I had the parents I have and saw the struggles and how they looked to God for all things. Their faith was real to them (it still is) and I learned more from home than anywhere else.

    OK, I think I said enough!

  3. Beth says:

    I agree with what mom and Jen said. I have been talking to a friend lately about what “youth ministry” should be. Our current youth leader (who is a wonderful person) stated that his goal is be a go-between between the teens and their parents. However, my friend brought up a good point that this implies that parents cannot relate or completely understand their teens. This lead me to think of how many teens (including myself) are/were just kids in adult’s bodies instead of young adults that they could be. By catering to them and separating them, I think it is important to not expect less or think that it is a “special” time of life when in fact our culture and school structure prolongs childhood- this goes back to what Jen was saying about the importance of living our the faith with the teens… should they be treated as an “isolated species”- I don’t think so. Lower expectations result in lowered maturity- this I think begins even with toddlers- maybe even infancy.

    I can see the benefits of a teen ministry- but it can degenerate into a “teens are special” easily.

    For example, if I had a teen I would want them to attend adult bible study with me- in addition to the teen events at church- not just exclusively the teen events- or even be at the house of the bible study- but hanging out in a different room, which I think is the manifestation of a wrong approach.

  4. T-Bone says:

    i agree with everything that has been said. And I agree with the article where it says that today many youth groups are too separated from the rest of the church. That is a problem where we are much more than it is a problem in NH. With youth programs that are their own programs they are often very separated from the older people in the church and there is a lot missing when that happens. The instructions in Titus and I Timothy are not made possible when kids can’t have that relationship with older people.

    But the biggest thing that I saw wrong with the story is that it doesn’t mention the need for the Word of God in that ministry! The biggest thing wrong with youth ministries across the world is that they are not Biblicall based. when I say that, I mean that they do not equipt the students to be able to read and know the Word of God for themselves. The saying, “give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime’ is so true with this. I don’t care if you give the kids a sense of ‘community’. I don’t care if they have a ‘place of their own’. The most important thing for a youth pastor to do is to teach them to read their Bible.

    Youth ministry is not an end unto itself. It is a means by which you are trying to form godly young adults who will be equipped to life a life for God. The best way to do that is to teach them to get what they need for themselves. You could provide the ‘coolest’ environment, but what is that going to do for them when they leave your youth group? only make them look for another place in which they are personally comfortable.

    Now that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to try to provide a good environment for them to grow in, but that isn’t the highest priority. They need to learn about God and they need to be equipped to be able to do that for the rest of their lives, when they go out and live on their own. I was just shocked to not read a single thing about that in this article.

    The kids have “a vague group of functionally religious beliefs they termed ‘moralistic therapeutic deism'” because they were not properly taught the Word of God.

    I read a stat that 91% of americans say that their religion is important to them. Then 63% said that they do not believe in absolutes. Meaning only 28% of the people in the USofA think that there is such a thing of absolutes. Leads to a kind of ‘vague’ life doesn’t it? You cannot believe in the Word of God and not believe in absolutes. The core of a youth group MUST be the Word of God.

  5. Jen says:

    I do think that it is VERY important for the kids to have a Bible stidy/Sunday school class that is for them. Throwing them in with adults all the time can be very overwhelming for them. They need more of a hands on approach I think. (from what I have seen from my own experience.) I guess that would fall into the “preference” catagory. Being taught with adults is good for them too…just not all the time!

  6. Beth'sMomToo says:

    You’re right! The centrality of the Word of God is vital in ALL ministry. THAT’S where the power is! Many churches/families have gotten away from that thanks, in part, to all the great “resources” offered by the Christian book industry. In fact…you don’t even have to read. You can buy videos now! I hear people say we should just, “spit out the bones” when we come across Biblical error in books about the Bible. Why not just go where we DON’T HAVE to “spit out the bones” – go to the Bible itself.

    “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” Ps.119:9

    “This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.” Ps.119:50

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