Lies we believe in youth ministry

Topic / Leadership

1. “Eh, it’s good enough.”
This is not an appropriate attitude to have toward your ministry! You should never look at a Bible lesson, worship set, communication or the ministry in general and think that it’s up to par. Rather, strive for excellence in all you do and “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (Col. 3:23-24).

2. “It’s not about numbers.”
Numbers are important because it shows that you’re not an inward-focused little Christian bubble. You should be intentionally reaching out in your community, seeking the lost for Christ because every number out there represents a lost soul.

3. “I need to pretend like I’m perfect so kids look up to me.”
Yeah, whatever! Kids need to see that you’re a real human being who make mistakes, has failures and sometimes struggles in your walk with Christ. It doesn’t make you a bad role model — it makes you someone they can actually relate to.

4. “We can’t do effective youth ministry without a budget, a cool youth room and a paid youth pastor.”
There’s nothing that suppresses imagination, creativity and excitement more than focusing on what you don’t have. Instead, focus on the tools and resources God’s provided and run with that! The best ministry takes place outside the church, doing something free with a volunteer adult who just loves kids.

5. “It’s wrong and hurtful, but I’ll let it go.”
Avoiding issues that need to be addressed (gossip, disrespect, etc.) will erode unity faster than anything else. Confront it head-on for the sake of the ministry even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Seriously.

6. “I’m not funny or outgoing. I don’t play a guitar, have no facial hair, and I’m over 40. There’s no way can work with teens.”
In fact, the best youth workers I’ve ever encountered are retired, white to no hair, know nothing about the latest bands or movies, but deeply love teenagers and have lives that are jam-packed with spiritual maturity and wisdom that no young adult could ever impart.

7. “We need to play lots of games and have lots of fun at youth group.”
Yes, you do need to have lots of fun at youth group, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be through lots of hype and games. In-depth Bible study is what kids crave — that’s fun!

8. “This is pointless. I don’t see any life-change taking place.”
And you may never see it. Sometimes the investment you make now doesn’t pay off until years down the road when you may no longer be in touch with the students. Speak God’s truth into their lives and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

9. “We need to have lots of programs and activities for kids.”
Having a full calendar may actually be a symptom of insecurity more than a sign of strength. Besides, just because students participate in a lot of church events does not mean they’re actually growing.

10. “They’re just teenagers. I can’t expect too much from them.”
Teenagers have more potential than any other age group! They’re leaders, innovators, creative, passionate, and have more energy than 100 youth pastors on Jolt. They’re incredibly responsible about whatever is important to them. Maybe your expectations are just way too low. Challenge them to a higher standard.

Posted on April 16, 2008

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  • I have to disagree. You can’t be a youth pastor without facial hair. I shaved my goatee off last month and was almost fired.
    (I can’t think of a good way to make sure people know I am kidding, dang you internet and your poor rendering of sarcasm)

  • I couldn’t agree more. As a former youth group(-er? ee?), I respected the guys who were real with me and taught the Bible. The passion of those men has stayed with me.
    I’ve been very encouraged by the content of your site. I write on a co-blog site. I look forward to reading more.

  • NICE Tim! Love this post! I agree totally. There are too many lies in youth ministry that can be so believable and will only bring the ministry down. Thanks for sharing what so many are thinking.

  • Comment on #8: I heard my pastor say this week that the Bible never commands us to go and make converts/Christians, but he does say over and over again to plant seeds and share the gospel. Our job is to just keep throwing seeds over and over again and let the Holy Spirit do His job. Hopefully we can still be involved when they start grow.

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