One of the things that drives the site managers and contributors at YouthMin.Org is the idea that the standard of ministry that many youth workers hold to needs to change. And we know we are not alone: There are countless articles out there talking about nixing youth ministry as a whole; their arguments include but are not limited to: youth ministry isn’t fitting the needs of our culture anymore, it isn’t growing students up but extending adolescence, and it’s just plain lame.
We are just as tired of the current status quo of youth ministry:
- Youth workers who wait until the day before to start preparing a lesson.
- Youth workers who use curriculum without reworking it to fit the needs of their students.
- Youth workers who plan events just to have them, without having any real impact on the spiritual lives of their students.
- Youth workers who don’t take the time to understand the culture in which their students live in.
- Youth workers who don’t proofread what they send out to parents and students.
- Youth workers who still use clip art.
- Youth workers who complain all the time about how dumb parents are.
- Youth workers who complain about how useless their volunteers are.
- Youth workers who don’t take the time to invest into their students outside of meeting times.
- Youth workers who don’t keep Jesus the center, and instead focus their times on jokes/silly stories/needless games.
- Youth workers who are teaching about sexuality in a way that shames their students and drives them away.
- Youth workers who dress like fools and aren’t taken seriously.
- Youth workers who talk bad about their senior pastor and other staff members (even Children’s workers!).
- Youth workers who fit a “mold” that is so 90s and (can I keep it real for a minute?) exclusive to gender.
But, how do we change this standard?
Sometimes us contributors feel like jerks when we challenge others to up the ante; but let’s face it: Unless we say something, nothing is going to change. One of my personal mottos is “Don’t complain about something unless you are actively working to change it.”
Well, readers: This is me complaining and demanding a change.
Start with yourself–how can you start making some changes? Here is an example that will be close to your heart: We all complain that we aren’t taken seriously. Now, here comes the challenge: Look at the way you dress. Look at your youth meetings. Look at the type of activities and events your youth group does. Look at the way you lead and your relationships with other staff. Now, do you still not understand why you’re not taken seriously? Begin this change in yourself.
Once you have gotten your plank out, help other youth workers with their specks. Challenge your youth worker friends to quit complaining about their staff and start exhorting them. Stand up for the Gospel and demand that we keep it the center. Let someone know that no one wants to come to their event because they are still using Comic Sans on their flyer… in love, of course.