I hate the idea that what I am doing is creating a barrier for students hearing the Gospel and growing in their faith. As the four of us, (Darren, John, Leneita, and myself), have surveyed the youth ministry landscape, here are our personal opinions of what youth ministry needs less of in 2013. These are our personal opinions and are not meant to hurt or offend. Please know that we are simply sharing what we see as we look back and look forward this year. We hope to spark some good conversation and add some of your comments to this discussion…
(Leneita) In 2013, youth ministry needs less gimmicks: Yes, we should do whatever it takes to reach our youth. However, we often fail to stop and ASK our youth what they are looking for, or what they need. I have been challenged that students “do not know the answer to that question.” I totally disagree. We should be using quality curriculum and the excellent resources available. I have yet to meet a student who has told me that the smoke machine is what keeps them coming back to a group. When we fail to seek out what they are looking for we have missed a generation who hungers for relational authenticity.
(Darren): In 2013, youth ministry needs less whining. Working in ministry is not the easiest – or most lucrative job on the planet. Surely we knew that going in. Occasionally we vent – and we all need to do that. But sometimes we also need to suck it up. We make sacrifices for this calling. If we allow those sacrifices to steal the joy of serving God in this high calling, it may be time to re-evaluate what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Has your venting turned into constant whining?
(John): In 2013 youth ministry needs less youth workers trying to mimic others, and seek Christ instead. I once heard Steven Furtick say that one of the reasons that we struggle with insecurity is that we compare our “behind the scenes,” to someone else’s “success reel.” This is an ironic statement from one of the youngest pastors in history of one of the largest and fastest growing churches in the US. So I look to Furdick and I think. “If I was younger. If I had more faith like he does. If I was a better communicator, then my ministry would be more successful.” Instead, what I should be doing is seeking the Lord. I should be pressing into him. My life should be about my relationship with HIM and then the ministry will follow. In Christ’s eyes he simply wants me to follow him, then he will tell me what my ministry ought to be. When I do this then he looks at me and says, “Well done good and faithful servant.” That is entirely the point isn’t it?
(Phil) In 2013 youth ministry needs less disorganization. If you follow my posts you will often see a tendency to talk about strategy, planning, and productivity. I know that youth ministry is not a business and much of our work is relationally driven and our schedule must be flexible. However, I am not talking about becoming rigid in what we do, I am simply saying that we need to avoid being overly disorganized and winging most of what we do. By choosing to be last minute and disorganized we are choosing to live in what Tim Elmore calls ‘repair’ mode. In other words our ministry becomes broken by our lack of planning. In addition, students, parents, and leaders around us will never take us seriously when we fail to plan. Not only that, we will frustrate those around us…
What does youth ministry need less of? What have you learned in the last year that you need to get rid of in your youth ministry? What would you add to this list? What do you disagree with on this list?
Our next post… What Youth Ministry Needs More of in 2013