Many of the statistics you read about teenagers and faith can be alarming. Recent studies show that 40-50 percent of kids who are connected to a youth group throughout their senior year will fail to stick with their faith in college. As youth workers are pouring their time and energy into the students in their ministries, they are often left wondering if they've done enough to equip their students to carry their faith into adulthood.
“Today’s youth pastors are the laziest bunch of people I’ve ever met.”
Disagree with it if you want. I didn’t say it, and it wasn’t an all-inclusive statement. I know plenty of hardworking and even over-worked youth workers. This comment was said by my friend in a moment of frustration.
Have you noticed that “programming” has become a bad word in many youth ministry circles?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the push-back against those of us who have become so program-focused that we lose sight of why those programs were created to begin with. Sadly, I’ve seen way too many youth ministries running a Wednesday night program for all the kids that are dropped off by mom and dad. Relational ministry trumps this kind of programming any day of the week, an argument I support throughout my book Connect.
All through my adolescence no organization was cooler than MTV. They literally defined what was cool for my generation, as Frontline documented in The Merchants of Cool, MTV wasn't just lucky to hit a specific trend at a specific time for 20 plus years. My jaw dropped as I learned that MTV's programming hits were the results of intense and prolonged ethnographic study of their target audience.
We want to help connect non-Christian students with the grace of God, so we cover their heads with shaving cream. We want communities of love and peace, so we hand young people rolled up newspapers and have them smack each other.