As I travel the nation and talk to youth leaders I hear the same things when it comes to this generation of teenagers (nicknamed "Gen Z") and youth ministry in general:
If you're a pastor, church leader, youth leader or parent I am pleading for you to take youth ministry and teenagers seriously. I'm convinced that the right kind of youth ministry is necessary now more than ever before in our history as a nation.
This youth leader articulated, I believe, what many youth leaders feel down deep inside. As they realize more and more what they are up against when it comes to seeking to reach this next generation it can be overwhelming, discouraging and, sometimes, downright debilitating.
Although we view ourselves as the primary spiritual influence of our kids, we also believe that a strong youth ministry plays a vital role in his overall spiritual development.
No, this is not a joke. Effective youth ministry doesn't take that much money.
A debate is raging among a handful of Christian leaders about social justice and the Gospel. Some super conservatives are saying that the entire concept of social justice is unbiblical. A handful of ultra-liberals have asserted for years that social justice is the Gospel. Still others are saying that social justice should be a natural lead in and outflow of the Gospel.
It's that time of year where Alice Cooper weeps (school is no longer out for the summer), parents rejoice and teenagers have to start getting up early again.
I've noticed a pattern in these churches ... most of them are not effectively reaching the lost with the Gospel in their own communities.
This is a fun little post about a pretty serious subject. Rule-obsessed churches stifle the joy of Jesus in our souls by promoting legalism disguised as holiness. But instead of getting the full surrender to Christ they want, they get external compliance and inner misery instead.
I believe that every youth leader worth his/her salt wants to make the biggest impact possible in the lives of their teenagers and in the communities in which those teenagers live. But how can that be done effectively?
Here are 10 important questions I believe that youth leaders should be asking themselves on a somewhat regular basis.
Every youth leader has a false dilemma. This "dilemma" is whether or not to focus on evangelism or discipleship with their youth ministry.
When it comes to youth ministry there are tons of myths floating around out there. Here are 5 of the biggest :
What was the formula for youth group programming in the awesome and audacious decade of the eighties? It was a weird science mixture of dodgeball games, singalong worship, quick lessons, cold drinks, hot pizza, caffeinated all-nighters, occasional mission trips, week-long camps and weekend retreats.
Over the last 25 years of equipping teenagers to share their faith through Dare 2 Share I have met countless youth leaders who were on the brink of burn out.
There's something about a ministry that is advancing God's kingdom that brings out the Debbie downers and the negatives Neds in droves.
I went to a Christian school. My kids go to a Christian school. I'm not anti-Christian school (or home school or public school for that matter.) But I am convinced that Christian schools have a dilemma.
As a father of a 13 year old girl and a 17 year old young man I have had a mini-awakening about what it actually takes to disciple teenagers. Suffice it to say, I may have to rewrite a few chapters in a handful of my books.
It is time to awaken the sleeping giant in the church (called "teenagers") and fill them with holy resolve. But, with so many age demographics in the typical church, why should we focus on reaching teenagers?
When it comes to sharing the Gospel we have a motivation problem. Some Christians excuse their apathy by saying things like, "Well, that's the pastor's job" or "Evangelism is not my spiritual gift." Others think to themselves, "God is in charge of that stuff anyway. I can't save anyone."
There's something extraordinarily Biblical about Christians intentionally sharing the Gospel with others. From the bold early believers at the beginning of the church (Acts 4:31) to the Gospel proclaiming 144,000 Jewish evangelists at the end of time (Revelation 7), believers sharing the Good News with unbelievers is the norm, not the exception in Scripture.
"There's been another school shooting" is a phrase I hope I never get used to hearing.
I have met far too many youth leaders who have been fired. Some of them have been let go for legit reasons. Others have been fired because they were doing God's work in God's way and it created a ripple effect that not everyone liked.
Here are, what I believe to be, the 5 marks of a great Christian leader.
The biggest discipleship lie in youth ministry is ...