I was 19 years old when youth ministry bored its way into my bones and penetrated my marrow. I’m 34 now, and youth ministry still pours into my blood and circulates through my veins. I believe in youth ministry, in all that is good and holy about loving and caring for young people in the context of the local church. And these are two of the things I believe about youth ministry:
1. Effective youth ministry isn’t in opposition to involved parenting. It doesn’t have to be “youth ministers are bad and war against the parents.” And it doesn’t have to be no ministry at all. Youth ministry can be respectful of parents and their influence and authority. It can bridge the gaps between parents, teenagers, and the local and global Church.
2. But effective youth ministry needs more workers: more Bible teachers and youth leaders, more Christ followers and relationship builders. Group ministry is great — and I believe in it — but one-on-one discipleship is even greater, and I believe in it even more. One minister or even a ministry team can’t possibly disciple all the youth in the church. So we need more people who care. More people who aren’t afraid of teenagers. More people who think youth ministry means something, something really important. Because youth ministry does mean something. It means the world to every teenager you invest in. So let’s do a little investing. A little guiding. A little caring and a little paying attention. And we just might witness the restoration of lives and the rescue of souls.
With many thanks to the youth workers who poured into me as a young person, the youth workers who now pour into my own children, the parents who have trusted me to minister to their children, and the teenagers who have allowed me into their hearts and lives over the years. I love you all.