Before I get any flack for concept stealing, I want to let you know that I got permission from my friend Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, The Case for Christmas and, The Case for....just about everything dealing with the subject of Jesus, to spin his "Case for" theme toward youth ministry.
Lee wholeheartedly agreed that this is a message I should tackle. He, too, is convinced that this next generation needs reached and that it's going to take youth leaders, parents and pastors fully aligned with the right kind of philosophy to reach them.
I hesitate to even use the term "right kind of youth ministry" because I'm actually not referring to any particular youth ministry model or program. Models and programs are fine and necessary, but what makes or break them is, not the program itself but the philosophy behind them.
The old business adage, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast" is also true for youth ministry. When the right kind of culture is present in a youth ministry almost any model or program will work. And when the right kind of culture is not present then it doesn't matter what program or model you have in place, because it's doomed to fail.
But, before I make a case for the right kind (philosophy/mindset) of youth ministry, allow me to make a case for youth ministry in general. Why is youth ministry strategically important for the church?
Firstly, and this is something we all intuitively know, the VAST majority of people who put their faith in Jesus do so by the age of 18. I'm sure that you, like me, have read the statistics that the younger a person is the more likely they are to come to Christ.