the future of youth ministry, episode 9

i led a late night discussion at the national youth workers convention this past fall on “the future of youth ministry”. in preparation for that discussion, i emailed a few dozen friends with better youth ministry minds than my own, and asked them to complete the sentence, “the future of youth ministry….” about 15 of them responded (often with more than a sentence!). i’m posting them here as a series, sometimes with a bit of commentary from myself, and sometimes merely as a reflection-prod. would love to hear your responses.
episode 1 (searching for the right way)
episode 2 (discipleship, barriers)
episode 3 (intergenerational ministry)
episode 4 (parents)
episode 5 (re-weird-ifying christianity)
episode 6 (the system is broken)
episode 7 (a little bit o’ sunshine)
episode 8 (less siloing)

we’ve had some great perspective-pushing quotes in this series, and i’m going to wrap it up with five great one-liners. consider them five more shots across the bow:

Greg Stier (blogger, founder and pres of dare to share)

“In the future, the church will be forced to marginalize or centralize youth ministry… no in-between.”

Tash McGill (blogger, kiwi youth ministry entrepreneur)

“The ‘issue’ with youth ministry is found in the adjective ‘youth’ and the verb ‘ministry’ being too often confused for nouns.”

Brian Berry (blogger, up-and-coming youth ministry voice, the youth pastor at my church)

“The future of youth ministry will be irrelevant if we don’t learn how to influence teens to embrace young adulthood instead of perpetual adolescence.”

Mike King (blogger, ceo of youth front, author of presence-centered youth ministry)

“I hope youth ministry in the future will embrace missionally all the things that the church is afraid of today… realistically, however, I don’t think youth ministry as we know it today will exist 25 years from now!”

Tic Long (exec director of youth specialties)

“Youth ministry is at a crossroads of seeing culture as an enemy or as a friend. The road they choose will determine it’s future.”

6 thoughts on “the future of youth ministry, episode 9”

  1. I like Brian Berry’s comment. I agree with his comment. But it can seem like swimming upstream encouraging our youth to embrace young adulthood in cases where they are constantly pushed back into it by parents and culture. I find more and more, the lfie lessons we teach about responsibility and the moral lessons we teach about being other’s oriented get lost in the “parent-trap” of “my kid first.”

    This mentality will lead to irrelevancy of youth ministry if we simply become one more activity for kids to engage in rather than one real body that engages kids. I think that student-led ministries and student leadership groups help in this regard, but I would love to hear more about “influencing teens to embrace young adulthood.”

  2. I went to the beginning of this series and caught up. I am enjoying the thoughts from the different perspectives. Thanks for taking the time assemble and share them.

  3. The future of youth ministry is exciting, hope-filled, and mysterious. Using this definition enables us (the crazy youth-loving leaders) an opportunity to be a part of the creation of something new, exciting, scary and Christ-filled. I hope youth ministry will evolve to become more youth-lead, more spiritually-fulfilling, and more vocational in nature. I believe that the youth in our churches are being marginalized; due to ageism, their leadership potential is not being utilized in most churches. The youth are the here and now, not “the future” of Christianity. Churches need to have a mentoring progam, so that every youth has an adult who can walk beside them on their journey in discovering who they are and all that they can be. Focus on the here and now of youth in your churches, because if we don’t, they will not be present in the future.

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