Cruising some of the youth ministry blogs of recent and it seems the topic of discussion is regarding the future of youth ministry. Its wonderful that its being talked about. My buddy Andrew has some good thoughts on his blog and others alike are contributing to the discussion. I thought I’d throw in my two cents for what its worth.
I’m convinced that the greatest change that will have to occur in the church when it comes to youth ministry is the way the church relies on the position of “youth director” or “youth pastor” as the sole go to person when it comes to how ministry is to be done. The head cheese. The gal or guy in charge. Yes he or she is the paid professional. Yes they are the PROS when it comes to loving kids. The expectation though that this person must be the ONE who meets all of the spiritual, emotional, and mental needs of the kids of the church in my opinion is the killer of the youth worker. Too often this person in the church is looked at as the savior of the world to getting, keeping, and retaining the kids of the church and when the numbers, the sparkling and eye catching programs aren’t drawing and keeping the kids, the youth pastor is often looked at as the possible reason for the flagilating ministry to students. Something must be wrong with our youth director? Why aren’t kids coming to Christ? Where are the numbers? We used to have 150 kids in our youth group? Now were down to 40? Why isn’t he or she meeting my kids needs? And what often happens is the person is asked to leave or move on in a “nice and loving manner” and the kids again are hurt in the process. I think the future of youth ministry will actually not be led by a youth pastor. It will be led by people who care about kids and about making a difference in their lives for Christ. It will be homegrown folks who know the culture of their churches. It will be the women and men who by God’s grace were loved and cared for by people who had time and who made sure that every kid they ever met or greeted knew that they were a blessing from upon high. I talked with a church this afternoon whose YM is led by a kid of the church on a part-time basis. He grew up in the church. Loves and has a heart for the community that surrounds the church and who loves kids no matter what. The church pays him a small stipend (which I think he tithes back to the church) and by day he’s works in the insurance industry. What a powerful model. The professional is actually the one who was blessed by someone else when he grew up in the church. Goodness. I do what I do because of a bunch of people who loved me like Christ when I was a kid and who cared about me and made sure I knew I was loved. Once I read this I hope to add another penny or two of my thoughts.