Problems with youth ministry today and in the future

Problems with youth ministry[ This post is based on an interview I did last year. ]

These lists could be a lot longer, but here are a couple to get you started. I’d love for you guys to continue these lists in the comments below.

Current problems

1. Youth leaders are not internalizing the Word themselves before they teach it to others, and thus a disconnect between real life and faith is unintentionally communicated.

2. Parents are not being the spiritual role models their teenagers desperately need.

3. Youth ministries are too wrapped up in “doing” ministry rather than “being” ministry. Ministries find their identity in their function instead of seeking the Lord first for their identity and vision and then letting function flow from that.

4. Youth leader don’t pray enough. If we truly believed in the power of prayer, we’d spend more time in prayer than anything else.

Future challenges

1. Perhaps the biggest challenge for youth ministry in the next several years will be defining what community is, and then somehow enabling it to organically take place. The Internet and youth culture continue to change how people view relationships and how they interact. Since we are made in His image and one of the core essentials of that is relationships, we know that community will never go away, but the church’s ideology will either have to shift or be intentional about making a stance. Forming small groups and telling the participants to talk to each other for a couple years is not necessarily community.

2. Somewhat related is that our communication and teaching styles may need to change. Rather than lecturing from a stage or even discussing in a classroom small group, perhaps teaching will need to change to a community-driven experience that interacts with the real world.

What problems do we have? What future challenges do you see for youth ministry? Perhaps most importantly, how are you addressing these problems and challenges in your youth group?

Posted on April 15, 2009

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