Every year I have the awesome privilege of connecting face-to-face with thousands of youth leaders across the country. During this time I have had several gut-level conversations with youth leaders and have noticed a pattern in the majority of youth ministries that are headed for trouble. There are at least 4 clear warning signs.
But, in addition to sharing these warning signs with you, I want to suggest an immediate corrective action that will help you to begin moving in the right direction. So, without further adieu, here are the 4 warning signs:
Warning Sign #1: It’s internally obsessed, not outwardly focused.
Youth ministries that tend to be all about what’s happening inside the four walls of the youth room become spiritually inbred and culturally impotent. True disicpleship entails sending teens on mission every single day to their friends, classmates and teammates and not just teaching them God’s Word. Because it’s during these Gospel conversations where many teenagers begin to truly know and own their faith.
Think of it this way, if you pour milk into a sponge and don’t squeeze it out, the milk will sour. In the same way, if our teenagers take in the milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2) but never pour it out to their peers, they too will spoil.
Corrective Action: Train your teenagers to share their faith and get them doing it right away. Check out Shine for a simple, effective and fun training resource.
Warning Sign #2: It’s built on human strategy, not divine wisdom.
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom….” 1 Corinthians 1:25
Far too many youth ministry programs are built on a human tradition rather than a divine wisdom. Blaring music, goofy games and superficial sermonettes tend to dominate the youth ministry landscape. While it’s great to have fun, there is often not enough focus on prayer, the Word, deep fellowship and relational evangelism (along with a game of dodgeball from time to time!)
Youth leaders are inundated with curriculum and programmatic choices. It’s tempting to choose what may seem to keep our teens entertained and in their seats for the next 4-6 weeks rather than what they really need to hear and experience.
Meanwhile the greatest youth ministry book of all time (the Bible) and the greatest opportunity to gain divine wisdom (prayer) lay covered in proverbial dust in the corner of our youth rooms.
Corrective Action: Read the book of Acts and ask yourself what were the elements that kept the early church excited and thriving and how can you begin to apply those elements in your youth ministry culture?
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SOURCE: The Christian Post