5 of the Biggest Myths About Youth Ministry

When it comes to youth ministry there are tons of myths floating around out there. Here are 5 of the biggest:

1. The “Youth Ministry is a 20th Century invention” Myth

When Jesus, the ultimate rabbi, took his disciples into Capernaum only Peter and Jesus paid the temple tax (Matthew 17:24-27.) This is significant because the temple tax was only applicable to those 20 years old and older (Exodus 30:14.) If I’m reading these passages correctly then Jesus was a youth leader…with only one adult sponsor (Peter) and one really rotten teen (Judas.)

In Titus 2:1-8 Paul challenges Timothy to have the older men teach the younger men and the older women to teach the younger women. These “younger” were most likely teenagers who were being ministered to and mentored by older adults.

Don’t buy the myth that youth ministry is a 20th Century invention. It began 2000 years ago. Let’s get our adults to do what Jesus did by getting them to invest in a group of teenagers.

2. The “Burn the box” Myth

We have all received a youth ministry box of sorts with lots of cool stuff in it. It has dodge balls, pizza, self-image talks, worship songs and marshmallow guns.

Some people say that the youth ministry box should be burned and we should start over. Because youth ministry in many circles has not been as effective as it could be, the thought is that we need to shake the Etch-A-Sketch and start over.

But that’s not the answer.

I’m grateful for the youth ministry box we have received from our youth ministry forefathers. The average youth leaders has digital lessons to teach truth and game apps to break down barriers in the group. We have more camps, conferences, events and retreats to choose from than ever before in youth ministry history.

And we should all be grateful for these!

All of the items “in the box” can become nudges to gently push teenagers one millimeter (or, if we’re lucky one meter) closer to Jesus.

We just need to create room in the box for the things that matter most. For instance, there’s not much room in the typical youth ministry box for intercessory prayer, relational evangelism and discipleship multiplication. Room must be made but we don’t have to burn the box to do that.

For a list of non-negotiables that should be in the box, check out Gospeladvancing.com.

3. The “Either/Or Discipleship/Evangelistic” Myth

Most youth groups fall into one of two categories: They are a mile wide and an inch deep (aka “evangelism-focused.”) Or they a mile deep and an inch wide (aka “discipleship-focused“.)

But the truth is they should be both deep and wide! It shouldn’t be either/or but both/and!

Jesus took his disciples deep into the truths about God. But he took them wide with the Gospel at the same time. He had a “grow as you go” philosophy of discipleship. As his mostly teenaged followers took the Gospel across Judea he taught them the deeper truths about God. When they got excited about being able to cast out demons, he challenged their theology by encouraging them to be more excited about the “steak” of their salvation (Luke 10:20) than the “sizzle” of their miraculous powers.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Greg Stier