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4 Things That Aren’t Going to Change Soon in Youth Ministry

 —  January 4, 2011 — 6 Comments

There’s been quite a bit of talk this past year about youth ministry changing drastically in the future. And while I think youth ministry must always be in a state of evolution and change, my mind wandered to what isn’t going to change anytime soon. If you spend your time on these 4 things, you’ll be ready for wherever God takes you next:

Caring adult leaders
Great volunteers have been a part of youth ministry for a long time – and they will continue to be in the future. These are the inner circle of leadership for your youth ministry. They are your partners, friends, and co-laborers in the faith. Youth ministry will change, but the need for people who love God and love students won’t.

1-on-1 time with students
At the heart of youth ministry must always be the individual student. Even large crowd program and events must continually pursue the one. The church growth movement can be mistakenly representing the desire for the crowd – but good youth ministry does both. Speak to the crowds, care for the individual.

Bible-based curriculum and teaching
Styles will come and go, sizes of groups and formats will fade, but one thing is going to be at the center no matter what philosophy you’re implementing. The Bible has been and must be at the center of youth ministry.

A devoted follower of Jesus leading the group
This is the must – and the New Year is the perfect time to start reversing the trend revealed in this startling poll a few weeks ago. You can talk about leadership, experiment with the latest and greatest gadgets, tools, core values and even have a great youth ministry blog – but if you’re not in love with Jesus and devoted to Him regularly it will eventually implode.

What else isn’t going to be changing soon in youth ministry?

JG

Josh Griffin

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6 responses to 4 Things That Aren’t Going to Change Soon in Youth Ministry

  1. great points Josh and I hope they don’t change anytime soon. #2 in particular. It is easy, as your group grows, to think that you can not spend as much time with youth as you used to. Although this may be true to some degree, the moment you take out 1-on-1 time with teens, that’s the moment you begin to lose your effectiveness. No matter how great your talk, your worship, your program or event is, that 1-on-1 time bridges the gap moreso than any of those combined. Happy New Year!

  2. Hurting kids in need of a Savior…. which is WHY the above things prayerfully never change!

  3. Agreed 100%. In a lot of ways, the change we need is to get back to these 4 things.

    We had a student leader meeting last night. Part of the evening is brainstorming with our students (all babies in Jesus) about teaching topics for the year to come.

    I was shocked (in a good way) by the idea that caught the most traction. A girl who has been a believer 3 weeks said, “Why don’t we skip the adult speaking and we could just break up into groups and study the bible together. It’s nice that you tell me what God is saying, but I want to discover it for myself, why don’t we just do that?”

    Glory Jesus! How cool was that?

  4. The truth is that so many of us in youth ministry would rather give great youth talks than to open scripture and let it speak to our students. Why? 1) It’s easier – we don’t have to actually study the Bible, just quote it. 2) It uses our talents of making kids laugh and telling great stories. 3) We think that inspires students more than teaching the Bible in a pure sense. 4) It puts us at the center of attention and frankly, most youth pastors love that. I have used inclusive language here because I have been as guilty as the next guy on this stuff. I have come to the point of thinking that many of us (depending on our contexts) need to put away Bible based curriculum and just learn to teach the Bible. It’s a move away from topics (not 100% though) and into God’s word itself.

  5. @Tom thanks for the kind words, man. I love the crowd, too, but the individual is where it is at!
    @Bekah so true!

    JG

  6. @adam great observation! And dude, that is where it is at, too!
    @Dave great point – that would make a great guest post here on the blog. You up for it?

    JG

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