In early July, about 100 youth and leaders, primarily from PCA churches in the West, gathered at Horn Creek camp near Westcliffe, CO, for the YXL (Youth eXcelling in Leadership) conference. The purpose went beyond an ordinary youth camp, as the students experienced a rigorous schedule designed to test and sharpen their leadership skills it … Continued
I have been in youth ministry long enough to know that arguing with your senior pastor in a public setting does not bode well for personal job security. Yet, for a mind boggling thirty minutes I was doing just that at a recent staff retreat. Oblivious to the obvious discomfort of the other staff, I plowed ahead as if the fate of the free world hinged on me winning this argument…
American young people are, theoretically, fine with religious faith-but it does not concern them very much, and it is not durable enough to survive on after they graduate high school. One more thing: we’re responsible.
A denominational leader asked me recently why I thought that so many parents act as if God’s covenant blessings to their children give them as parents license to sin against those who work with their children in the church. I wanted to tread lightly with my answer because I know that all too often youth workers secretly harbor the opinion that parents are the great road block to successful youth ministry.
With the explosion in popularity of fiction books targeted at young adults, one might think that teenagers today are turning the current trend toward not wanting to read anything longer than text messages or tweets around. However, it seems like once you move away from teenage wizards named Harry and angst ridden, love fueled vampires named Edward that young people have a tendency to stop reading…
I read once that faith is sometimes best understood by looking backwards. Now, on the surface that statement feels a lot like the inside of a Christian greeting card or one of those posters with cute animals and trite sayings that we hang on our walls to inspire us to do great things. However, in this case, I think instead of motivational drivel, this statement is actually biblically correct and has application for youth ministry.
Perhaps the next time your church has a significant prayer need, you should move your teenagers out of the “future of the church” holding pen and into the ministry of your church by asking them to lead the prayer meeting. Based on my YXL experiences this summer, I have a sneaking suspicion that the adults of your church may be encouraged and challenged
If I could offer any advice to youth directors… it would be to make sure that you are constantly communicating to other staff, elders, and parents who you are, what you do, and what is going on in the youth program.
What does an author do when he writes an academic youth ministry book that is critically acclaimed in youth ministry circles and sells beyond all expectations? Simple. He writes another book on the same topic only this time he joins with another expert in the field and moves from the academic into the practical. Dr. Chap Clark, Fuller Theological Seminary professor, made the compelling case in his book Hurt: Inside the Mind of Today’s Teenager that teenagers in today’s culture have been systemically abandoned by the adults and institutions that have traditionally cared for them. The resulting effect of this abandonment is a generation of hurting, disenfranchised young people who, somewhat ironically, are actually craving relationships with the very same adults who have abandoned them.
Studies continue to show there is a short window of opportunity for information to be acted on until it becomes irrelevant. This reality makes me wonder if student ministries that talk about dropping nets and following Christ, stepping out in faith, dying to self, living for Christ, being salt and light, and going into all the world to make disciples but do not give students opportunities to do these things, or that only allow students a chance to lead recreation at VBS once a year, might actually be guilty of perpetuating the myth of the irrelevance of God’s Word to “real” life.