The Post-Congregational Youth Ministry
The church as we know it is slowly dying. People don’t want to go to church and listen to a person preach for 40 minutes, they don’t like the politics of church and they don’t see the difference the church is making. Think about it for a minute: do you see your students 20 years from now going to church the way their parents do now? Church is morphing and changing. I do believe that a new kind of church will rise. It will be much more missional and less celebrity driven, most likely it won’t have one dominate leader who is both preaching and leading the church. So what does this mean for youth ministry? Here are a few of my thoughts:
1. Move from program to mission
Youth ministry is going to have to focus on students carrying the ministry forward. Students won’t come to programs at a church so we are going to have to train our students to reach their world. So currently we spend less then 10% of our ministry time on equipping students to share their faith and lead their peers. That will change and we will need to spend 50% of our time on helping students reach their world.
2. Students as living scripture
Our students will need a greater understanding of scripture and discipleship. There will be a greater cost to following Christ and student disciples will be much more focused and serious. We will have few students but they will be much more focused. When church as entertainment is gone so will the apathetic students. With all-in students we’ll need to spend more time on deepening their love for God’s word. We will need to teach in new ways, like having them teach us instead of us teaching them. After they finish teaching the lesson to us we will spend time debriefing and helping them apply. Our debrief skills will need to improve.
3. Creating risky disciples
Our students live without risk and it’s killing the movement. Their parents and our culture keep them from learning about the value of taking risks. Yet parents are also the primary faith influencers in students’ lives. So we need to place parents in the role of spiritual mentor and at the same time convince parents to allow their students to be risky disciples. BIG job. We need to help parents like we’ve never helped them before. We have to get them to see the value of the movement and how its heros moved it forward. We need parents to break with culture and to be driven by kingdom impact. This will be extremely difficult but if we don’t my fear is our students will never take risks for God.
About the Author
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