things we have come to accept in youth ministry

mark riddle has posted a wonderfully cranky stake-in-the-ground list of ‘things we have come to accept in youth ministry’. clearly, mark does not believe we should accept these things. here’s his list:

Things We Have Come to Accept in Youth Ministry.
1. Youth pastor turnover- That a youth pastor will only stay for a short time.
2. That the success or failure of the spiritual nurture of our kids is based primarily on the giftedness or lack thereof, of a person filling the youth position.
3. That the assumption by church leadership is that best youth pastors are young.
4. That a youth pastor can/will/should disciple themselves without the guidance of a senior pastor.
5. That a healthy gauge to tell when youth ministry is going well is when there are no complaints.
6. That Senior Pastors should not be involved in youth ministry.
7. That parents should not be involved in youth ministry.
8. That we give lip service to parents being the primary spiritual nurturers of their children, but do absolutely nothing to actually support parents in our church.
9. That so many youth pastors who feel called to ministry, leave vocational ministry before they turn 30.
10. That youth ministry is church for teens.
11. That youth have different basic needs than adults.
12. That youth have been systematically abandoned by adults within the culture and the church has done the same.
13. That having a youth pastor means the youth ministry is taken care of.
14. That the best youth ministries keep kids busy.
15. That it’s a sin to bore a kid.
16. That kids don’t think about theology or they aren’t ready for it.
17. That we do very little theological reflection when it comes to why we have a youth ministry.
18. The assumption that kids just want fun and games rather than relationships and theological engagement.
19. That Christian Education is an answer to all our problems.
20. That parental involvement in the spiritual development of their children is optional.
21. That the systematic estrangement of adolescents in our church is best for the kids and their “age level appropriate” activities and living out the gospel.
22. That kids only receive the benefits of a youth ministry/youth pastor and do not need to contribute to make this ministry happen.
23. That youth ministry is something only some of us in the church do.
24. That youth ministry is something that happens in a program at the church.
25. That all problems can be fixed with a program.
26. The perception that once I’ve grown my kids into college that I no longer need to work with youth.
27. That the youth pastor is actually just a director of activities.
28. That we no longer remember what a pastor is in many local churches.
29. That youth pastors have forgotten the reason they got into youth ministry in the first place because they are burdened with responsibilities they are miserable at accomplishing.
30. That the Jesus himself could not live up to the wildly inappropriate expectations a church has for a youth pastor.
31. That there is no healthy way to manage the expectations of the church.

5 thoughts on “things we have come to accept in youth ministry”

  1. I need to print them off / read / chew on them a little more before I take a grasp at the lists. At a quick glance, it looks like a good list of why a lot of things are in shambles.

  2. I’d love to incorporate all of those into my next church newsletter…but would probably be finding myself a new job really fast :)

  3. Otherwise amazing stuff, I think it speaks volumes about how some of us have felt for a long time.

    There’s truth and also warning to not find ourselves too complacement with the professionalization of Youth Ministry that has happened over the last 30+ years. While we still have a long way to go before some of us are truly considered as full memebers of “ministry” we musn’t forget how we got to the place where we are and what baggage we have brought with us.

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