10 “new” questions youth workers must be asking

my friend brian berry published a great post the other day about the changing/new questions he’s asking himself these days (compared to his earlier years in youth ministry). good and honest stuff, and a great reflection of the changing world of adolescents in america:

I have at least 10 questions I’m asking now that I wasn’t asking when I started this phase of my life (or at least I couldn’t have articulated them if I did).

1. How can I create an environment where students can think about faith genuinely and live out their faith intentionally?
2. Is it even possible to raise 5 teenagers in one home who love Jesus and serve God in a way that is both genuine and owned as an individual? What kind of parent do I need to be if that is going to be a reality for my family?
3. What is the effect of facebook, social networking, and computer screens on a faith and community?
4. Why do so many of our students date people who don’t share a common faith system with them?
5. Is the good ol’ fashion work ethic really that old fashioned? Why are so many young adults around me just plain lazy?
6. Why are homosexual and lesbian lifestyles increasingly being embraced by students and how can I create an environment where this is openly discussed like any other decision/issue students face?
7. Do my own kids want me to be their youth pastor? What are the benefits and dangers inherent in that?
8. If faith is more caught than taught, what characteristics are contagious in me and the ministry around me? What is being “caught”, regardless of what is “taught”?
9. What am I doing as a norm in ministry that I will genuinely have to apologize to the next generation of youth pastors for?
10. The Bible, plain and simple, is not being read by well over 90% of the students in my ministry. Period. Is there anything I can do to change that?

what questions are you asking? more specifically, what new questions are you asking?

10 thoughts on “10 “new” questions youth workers must be asking”

  1. After eight years in youth ministry, I finally started thinking about value and meaning. If I wanted adults to volunteer, what kind of value and meaning was it giving to their faith life? If it was just another meeting, how could I expect them to show up? Even I hated purposeless meetings. I didn’t want to be the source of them.

    Then I started thinking about the kids. How does what I do – prayer, programming (I came to despise that word in the end) worship, etc. bring significant (seriously significant) meaning to their lives that deepens their faith? Sure, dodge ball on Wednesday nights is awfully fun, but they can do that with their friends at school any day of the week. When I started to think of value (Time is valuable. Even kids’ time. You DO have to compete for their attention and something that gives them purpose will attract them.) and meaning, my “programming” ceased and the relationships that provide for significant faith discussion started to flourish. It’s a change in thought and attitude that is not often well received in the “normal” church setting where your pastors want to see 100s of kids show up for a lock-in instead of you visiting with small groups in your office. It’s not a very showy way to do ministry and it is a battle to get your congregation on board with you.

  2. The questions I am asking are about the role of youth in the church, and how to be creative about our structures to accept the faith and expression of youth in a substantial way, particularly in our leadership. When I look at the leaders of the Bible, most of them were young (under 40)

  3. Great question Marko –
    one that I’m asking:

    – how is the ministry I’m leading impacting not only the students I have but the family that they are with so much more than they are with me?

  4. Great… questions are much more powerful then answers. Students will frame their faith as wide as the questions we engage them in. This might be why some areas of faith see little transformation.

    oh… the caught and taught thought. “The Feel” or “vibe” of your ministry is the theology you really teach.

  5. Question 9 is great though tough to figure out since we’re inherently blind to it…calls to mind “the electric chair” game

  6. Great post by Brian! Great questions we all need to wrestle with individually and together as a community of youth workers.

    A few questions that I’ve been thinking about is

    How can we work together as youth pastors in a local community, from different churches, to reach our high schools and middle schools together?

    Since time is so valuable in the life of a student and for us who work with them, must we pour tons of effort to make our hour long program awesome, or could we just use that hour to intentionally build relationships? What if our youth ministry was strictly small groups that gathered together once a month to worship together?

    What if we had youth group at school during lunchtime at school? Would teachers allow us to teach an elective on campus?

  7. How can the adolescent discipleship journey be customized for each individual student? and Are am I wiling to put in the effort?

    Check out Reggie McNeal’s book Missional Renaissance.

  8. Pingback: Jesus Creed

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