Low pay, high stress, discouraging results, no respect, church politics, parental expectations, self-induced pressure....The list of reasons why many youth leaders quit youth ministry could go on and on.
Instead of New Year's resolutions let's talk about a youth ministry revolution.
Year's ago I devoured Mark Senter's classic book, The Coming Revolution in Youth Ministry. In it he predicted a transformation of the way youth ministry is done. He predicted a massive re-ordering of youth ministry back to the ways of the early church.
This outstanding book was written in 1992 but, sadly, we're all still waiting for the revolution to come. If anything youth ministry seems like it has become more and more institutionalized over the last 27 years or so since Senter's book was written.
This article was written by Greg Stier and Randy Davis, a partner from the National Network of Youth Ministries (NNYM).
Legend has it that when the Greeks defeated the Persians in the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, a warrior named Philippides ran the extremely long distance back to Athens, burst into the assembly and proclaimed “We have won!” just before collapsing and dying. This story has inspired countless runners to run and keep on running (and hopefully not die) in marathons around the world.
Those of us involved in reaching and discipling teenagers have inherited a box labeled "Youth Ministry." There's a lot of great stuff in the box that's been left to us by our youth ministry forefathers.
We've all read the scary statistics of teenagers who evacuate their Christian faith after they graduate from high school. I've read statistics as high as 85% and some as low as 50%. But regardless of the actual number all of us can agree that any is too many! We want as many of our teenagers' faith as possible to, not just survive, but to thrive long after they leave high school!
I love youth leaders. And, although I get to train thousands of them all across the nation every year, one of my favorite things is learning from them. Many youth leaders have great and effective strategies that they're implementing to create the most impacting youth group programs possible.
2016 has been a year of uncertainty. From American politics to church politics you may find yourself reeling. So it's probably time to get back to the elemental priorities that can insure that 2017 is your best year in youth ministry yet!
1. Make prayer numrero uno!
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people..." 1 Timothy 2:1
One of my passions in life is to see youth leaders succeed. I mean REALLY succeed. These men and women who have dedicated their lives to reaching and discipling young people are facing tough odds. From apathetic teenagers, to disengaged parents, to unsympathetic elder boards, to shrinking budgets, to a ticked off army of demons, youth leaders are up against some intense opposition.
Cultivating these 10 habits will help youth leaders improvise, adapt and overcome.
For the last quarter of a century, God has blessed me with the privilege of speaking to hundreds of thousands of people across the nation, primarily through Dare 2 Share events. In addition, I've spoken at tons of conferences, festivals and churches to students and adults alike.
Over the years I've developed a list of 10 actions steps I take when I prepare for and give a talk. These help me craft and deliver messages that go for maximum spiritual impact every time. I hope they encourage you as you prepare and deliver talks that glorify God, equip the believers and reach the lost.
Finding adults who are willing to pour their lives into teenagers is an important part of every youth leader's job. Effective youth leaders understand that they can't do it alone.
But one of the challenges, beside recruiting the right kind of volunteers, is keeping them long term. In the busy business of life, even the best youth ministry volunteer can lose momentum (and eventually interest) if they are not being led effectively.