youth worker, youth ministry, student ministry, broken cycle

Fixing The Broken Cycle of Youth Ministry

By Doug Franklin May 9, 2013

The goals of youth ministry will always be difficult to reach due to a lack of clarity and accountability. The problem starts at the top; Senior Pastors don’t challenge parents to be the primary faith influencers. Parents pass off discipleship responsibilities to youth workers. Youth workers receive mixed message about what is truly important; they are told to work for transformation but the minute they raise expectations of students, sports and school activities become more important then church commitments. The results are youth workers come to the conclusion that happy students are what the church and parents want. So they plan and program to make students enjoy their time in youth group.

Youth workers need to understand what is happening around them and how they got into this situation. They then need to use their creativity and wisdom to break the broken cycle.

It starts by leading up. Challenge your senior pastor to communicate with parents. Pledge and beg like the widow who pestered the judge in scripture (Luke 18). Your case is a just case and I believe most senior pastors will take your challenge.

Start a parent team, not for communication purposes but for starting a team of parents that will commit to being the primary faith influencers in their students’ lives. You commit to providing training. Have them sign a covenant and keep a large poster in the church of all the families that commit to this covenant. Use parents to influence other parents.

Start an intentional training program for your adults. This may take a couple of years to complete because as you move this group towards transformational relationships with students some will drop out as they are only there to help with logistics.

Move your student ministry away from fun and social activities and towards deep discipleship. With the senior pastor challenging parents, and parents committing to discipleship your adult volunteers should have lots of support as they mentor students.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More