Is there a typical youth group? Is it just me or are teens more busy than usual? If only I had more people on my team to help! You’ve probably wondered one, if not all, of these things to yourself at some point. Sometimes we have to be reminded that there are people all across the country doing – and wondering – the same things as us! The new Barna report on The State of Youth Ministry highlights important trends and findings in youth ministry across the country and sheds light on where things might be headed.
They found some incredible information, so we’re sharing with you 7 (of many!) facts about the state of youth ministry today. Does one of these stand out to you? Click the image to share on Twitter!
1. A typical youth ministry today includes 12 adult volunteers, 60 teens, and 1.4 paid youth ministry staff.
When we were in youth group, they looked a little bit different than they do today. But what is the typical youth group? The State of Youth Ministry takes a look at the average youth group today: who do modern youth groups do and what do youth ministry teams look like.
2. On average, a youth leader spends just over three years in one position and about five and a half years at a church.
And most go through more than one position while at a church – youth leaders often hold two or three separate roles in youth ministry. The average youth leader spends about 5.5 years as the youth leader at a church. 8 in 10 youth leaders are in a full-time youth ministry position at their church and 3 in 10 are also in charge of another area of ministry. 39% of the youth pastors in the study are in their first three years of ministry at their church and only 12% have been in ministry at their church for more than a decade.
3. Youth pastors report that their churches spend an average of 3% of the total budget on youth ministry (excluding salaries).
According to senior pastors, the church allocates 10% or less of the church budget to youth ministry. About half of senior pastors (45%) and two out of five youth pastors (38%) say that their youth ministry budget has increased over the past three years, while only 10% of senior pastors and 21% of youth pastors say that the youth ministry budget has decreased over the same time period. And good news! Most pastors do not foresee a decrease in the youth ministry budget over the next three years.
4. One quarter of youth pastors believe “getting parents involved with spiritual formation” is a priority of youth ministry.
And one in six senior pastors agree with this priority. While this is a top goal, most church leaders don’t place high priority on reaching out to parents – instead, they hope parents will reach into the ministry.
5. 74% of youth pastors agree that teens’ busyness is the biggest challenge to the effectiveness of their program.
But parents don’t agree – only one out of nine parents say that their child is “way too busy” and six out of 10 say the balance of activities “is good.” This could be explained by some parents concern about college admissions, which influences their evaluation of their child’s activity level.
6. 55% of Christian parents generally consider involvement in youth group to be of equal importance to extracurricular activities and 30% say it is more important.
Most parents whose teen does any extracurricular activity other than “working for pay” reported their teen having more regular youth group attendance than those who don’t engage in extracurricular activities. And this may be credited to the flexibility of youth pastors – 46% of parents say their youth pastor definitely accommodate their teens’ schedule and 45% say their youth pastor sometimes accommodates their teens’ schedule.
7. 46% of youth pastors use both purchased curriculum and in-house resources.
71% develop their curriculum resources in-house and 70% purchase teaching tools. More data shows that the more paid youth ministry staff a church has, the more likely someone is available to develop in-house resources.
This is just a taste of what the entire report includes. You can get a copy of the report at National Youth Workers Convention! Not registered? Register TODAY and you’ll get a copy of the report for free.