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10 reasons why I still believe in youth ministry (in spite of the haters)

Picture of Greg Stier
Greg Stier

I love youth ministry. I love youth leaders and teenagers. I love youth ministry and I believe that Jesus loves it too.

But, in a handful of cranky quarters, youth ministry is under fire. “UnBiblical!” they charge. “Ineffective!” they shout! These usually-angry-about-something-anyway haters wail and flail but ultimately they will fail. Why? Because youth ministry is needed now more than ever!

If we lived in a perfect Leave it to Beaver world where our churches were filled with families that were in tact, dads who were spiritual leaders and moms who were on fire for Christ then perhaps it wouldn’t be as necessary as it is today.

But we don’t and it is.

Of course there are some broken parts of youth ministry that need to get fixed. There are systemic challenges that keep many youth ministries from being all that God wants them to be. But God has a penchant for the weak, the broken and the foolish (1 Corinthians 1:26-29) and there’s nothing that describes this more than a group of hormone-filled, Red Bull fueled teenagers.

So, with all that as a backdrop, here are ten reasons why I still believe in youth ministry:

1.  God loves to use the unlikely to accomplish the unbelievable (think teen David killing Goliath and teen Esther saving a nation.)

2.  God calls for the older men in the church to pour into the younger ones and the older women in the church to pour into the younger ones (aka, “youth ministry.”) Titus 2:2-8.

3.  There’s something about a youth group that gets gospelized that turns it into an unstoppable force. Romans 1:16

4.  Most of the disciples were teenagers when they began to follow Jesus. So, in a very real sense, he was a youth leader! Matthew 17:24-27 (According to Exodus 30:14 the temple tax was only for those 20 years old and older. All the disciples are there but only Peter and Jesus pay it.)

5.  The average teen has 425 online and face-to-face friends. There outreach capacity is huge both across the street and across the world (through social media!)   Acts 1:8 According to one study done by NPR the average teen has 100x’s more influence on their friends than a stranger has. If they are inspired, equipped and unleashed for the Gospel their potential is off the charts!

6.  Teenagers are tribal. They love to learn together, grow together and accomplish significant things together!

7.  Teenagers are impulsive enough to actually accomplish strategic kingdom advancing feats without having to form a committee.

8.  Yes, teenagers need mom and dad to lead the way, but they also need adults they respect to pour into them spiritually too (see Titus 2 again!)

9.  Most youth leaders aren’t in it for the payday but for the payoff of seeing teenagers transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 2:19,20.)

10. Teenagers come to Christ quicker and spread the Gospel faster than adults.

What are some of the reasons you still believe in youth ministry? 

Photo by Richard Clyborne of Music Strive

Unlikely Fighter

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The story of how a fatherless street kid overcame violence, chaos, and confusion to become a radical Christ follower.

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