Youth Ministry and Family

Youth ministry can be a very tough area to be involved in. There are so many students whose parents aren’t involved in their lives, but then there are also so many students whose parents don’t even care what they do. Yet we have such a small amount of time for such a short period of their lives to be involved in and caring for these students. I really enjoy seeing the students grow and seeing them fall more in love with Christ, but ultimately the responsibility of the students comes to the parents. My job is to point the students to Christ and come alongside the parents as they do their best to help foster the students loves for Christ. The Gospel Coalition has a great blog today on this very topic that is great encouragement to those involved in youth ministry. First, remember who we serve, and then remember that we aren’t the students’ parents.

Resisting Being “Cutting Edge”

My dad sends me articles quite regularly, and one of the most recent ones was titled ‘Resisting the Urge to Do Cutting Edge Youth Ministry.’ It was a helpful article, and I read another one today called ‘Top 10 Reasons our Kids Leave Church‘ that I’ll interact with later this week.

I don’t think the ultimate goal of and youth pastor on pastor in general should be to be cutting edge and always staying relevant, but does having a faithful ministry and being cutting edge have to be mutually exclusive? I replied to my dad saying: “I agree – but then what does that look like practically? He says “I describe our strategy with a few participles: loving, teaching, proclaiming, worshiping, and praying.”

My follow up question is: how? I don’t think being “cutting edge” and following his “few participles” are mutually exclusive, you can still do things well and things that will reach a broad demographic and maybe even be cutting edge without sacrificing what God has called us to.”

I know within Christianity there is a tendency to run from one end of a spectrum to the other. For example, within the Evangelical Free Church, we were founded within the charismatic movement which is characterized by very emotive responses to pretty much everything and strongly encourages the use of all the gifts of the spirit talked about in the New Testament (tongues, prophecy, laying hands on, etc). Yet my experience with much of the EFCA today is a divorce from emotional and intellectual knowledge. These two things can’t be mutually exclusive, we need the intellectual knowledge, but it should lead to an emotional response of¬†gratefulness.

So within the church today, I think our main focus needs to be on being faithful to the Gospel, but then practically we’re going to live that out in different ways depending on where we are in life, where we live, what we do and a host of other things. As of right now I am a 24 year old serving in a church with another pastor in his mid 30s and another pastor in his late 50s. We all talk differently, have different passions and different gifts. This doesn’t mean any of us is better or worse than the other, but together we can reach a much broader demographic than if we were trying to do ministry on our own. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re cutting edge, I’d say far from it, but we do try our best to do everything we do to the best of our ability and to the glory of God.