The Importance of Youth Ministry?


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Found the quote from pg. 33 The Emerging Church

"Contrary to much of our current thinking about the importance of powerful youth ministries to the lifelong spiritual development of future adults, research proves otherwise: a teenager who attends a church's worship service on a regular basis and does not attend youth group is more likely to continue attend church worship services as an adult than a teen who is active in youth group but doesn't attend worship services with other age groups." - Mark Oestreicher

Thoughts? How do you integrate teens in your church?


6 Responses to “The Importance of Youth Ministry?”

  1. Blogger Micah 

    Many students who graduate from youth ministry and come back...come back only to realize that the rest of the church (in most cases) isn't as involved as the youth group. Not many people know each other, not many people do things outside of the worship service and class time together.

    They want the tightness of the youth group...but we haven't found a way to keep the entire church as involved as a youth group.

    So, yes, the kids who have not experienced the tightness of the youth group may feel that the worship service is the pinnacle of Christianity and be completely confortable coming to worship and leaving to do the rest of his or her life afterward. When we know that the Christian life is much more involved, that's all they know.

    A time will come when we start doing as a good friend of mine, Doug Lalli, says, "youth ministry for adults."

  2. Blogger Jovan 

    I think there are adults everywhere that still wish they were in the youth ministry.

  3. Blogger J-Wild 

    Interesting quote, and it sears with a fair amount of truth to it. Over the past few years I have come to learn that my focus in Youth Ministry shouldn't necessarily be making disciples. Rather it should be ensuring that the Sunday my kids age out of the youth group they will still show up for church ready and willing to engage in worship with the other members of church.

    This is quite a challenge because the community and structure of a youth group is often times a lot more engaging and intimate than the greater church body. In some instances the experiences my teens have had in our group have allowed them to keep coming to church after they have aged out of the program. But more often than not they don't return. I fault the kids, myself, and the structure of our church for reasons why this happens.

    I wonder if we restructured youth ministry to begin at 9th grade and end at age 21 or 22 if we would be more effective in getting our kids to stay in our churches (or even go to another church) after they age out of our programs. There are quite a few of my kids who don't go to college, so that leaves them on the outside of the college or young professional group. Where are they supposed to go to find community in our church? Does your church have a place for those kids?

    I know that much of YM is about planting seeds, and that you never know when those seeds will bloom. However, I have to really resist using that as an excuse to comfort myself when I see my kids graduate and then not come back.

    This isn't just a Church of Christ thing, it's a Christendom phenomena.

  4. Blogger Jason Retherford 

    I agree with the other guys too, this is a scathing truth. An ugly aspect of what we deal with daily...

    But here at at our church, our kids and parents at one time had bought into the program equals faithful church members later on in life... i am working on changing that. i am actively training our young men ( the argument could be made that i am neglecting the young girls, but i have an idea i am working to train godly young women to be leaders as well..) grades 3-6 to be involved in our wednesday night bible studies and worship on sunday nights. also grades 3-12, as a church, we are involved in Leadership Training for Christ, a program that involves the students in various leadership aspects.

    i don't know the long term outcome of these programs. but i have noticed a trend in the c o c, at least where we are losing leadership among the men.

  5. Blogger Bryan 

    I think part of the problem lies also in the way we set up our youth programs. Sometimes we create positions like "Youth Group President" and so on, and the students feel intimately involved. But there is no "Church President" position for them to go into after youth. There is no natural next step for youth, and they go from being involved to uninvolved.

    One thing I appreciate my church does is have youth involved in Sunday Morning worship teams, and on rotation along with adults working the sound board and the power-point. Maybe in a larger church you don't want a kid working an expensive sound board, but in my small church it works.

    We need to find ways for young adults to be meaningfully involved in the church once they graduate from youth, and I think part of the challenge is to get kids involved in ministry while they are still in youth, and then to have opportunities for them to continue to serve and get involved in the larger church once they get out of youth.

  6. Anonymous Anonymous 

    J-wild said, "Over the past few years I have come to learn that my focus in Youth Ministry shouldn't necessarily be making disciples."



    that should be your only focus if you are a minister. the great commission is to "go and make disciples". focusing on anything but making disciples is simply not focusing at all.

    - cold.roses

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