y t h o l o g y

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Top Picks For Championship Youth Ministry

Jeff Grenell
It is tournament time. So, I thought I would create my top picks. I'm going to give you my top 4 losers and my top 4 winners in Youth Ministry. Here we go.

LOSSES IN YOUTH MINISTRY - MYTHS (There are 4 common myths or mis-conceptions about young people today):

1.   “Youth are liabilities to be tolerated” - If there is nothing special about young people, then why are young people the target of almost every advertising and marketing scheme? Maybe we should be listening to them and valuing them more than we do. Could it be that what some call the liability of young people around us is actually more of an asset? By turning our tolerance into strategy or intention, we could find the vast resources in the minds and the hearts of teenagers. 

2.  “The teenager today is a hopeless romantic” - It is thought that they are idealistic. Dreamers. Unwilling to exert the discipline to become great at anything. Read the next myth and see that is simply not a truth about this generation. Could it be that our world needs a little more idealism? Walt Disney. Steven Jobs. Our world wouldn't be the same without the idealism that brought us Disney and Apple. What about not losing the traits that our Creator has placed in us. I would say that more young people are squeezed out of their idealism than are encouraged to excel in it.  

3.  “The blind (young people) do not want a seer (an adult)” - I've heard this statement from adults who are intimidated by young people. In my experience, one of the growing desires of young people is to find a mentor for their lives so that they can excel and compete. I believe it is the characteristic trait the young people of our generation exhibit called 'achieving'. With the increased demands upon young people today, teenagers are pressed to achieve more (and sooner) than ever. When a teenager get s their eyes on a person of interest (ICON), they will do anything to mimic them.

4.  “Social Media isn’t that important” - It is no secret that this generation is wired. So, what are we going to do about it? You can fight it all you want, but, social media and the internet are not going away. So, how can we use technology to reach young people? Discipleship, outreach, mentoring, and leadership training can all be done with young people from a mobile platform.

WINS IN YOUTH MINISTRY - TRUTHS (There are 4 common truths about ministry to young people today):

Of the many styles of Youth Ministry approaches - discipleship models, evangelism models, worship models, relational models, mentoring models, etc. - there are  four that I want to give you that any Youth Ministry can execute to reach this generation.

1.   "If you are not doing campus ministry, you are doing in-complete ministry" - It would be like a basketball player never going to the gym, a musician never hitting the practice rooms, or an actor not walking up on a stage. We don't merely pastor churches, we pastor cities. For all of the fear and intimidation that accompanies a visit to the public school campus, there is one thing that can remove the obstacle of fear. Love and training removes fear. 

2.  "Students love to play" - An event-based ministry is an attraction to teenagers. Ingrained in teenagers is leisure. The Youth Ministry that understands this sets an atmosphere that is fun, energetic, and spontaneous. Creating weekly or monthly events that are memorable will aid in the discipleship of youth in two ways: First, by creating return. By appealing to the play side of youth, you assure their return to your ministry. Second, by creating relationship. With relationship comes trust. And with trust will follow openness to the gospel.

3.  "Students love to pray" - An experienced-based ministry is an attraction to teenagers. So many times I have heard that emotional movements are shallow and temporal. I do understand the thought, but, I disagree. Some of the most impacting moments in my life took place in experienced-based settings. The most formative moments in my teenage life were not classroom or small group meetings. A walk through the bible will prove that many of the transformative moments in a person's life began with 'suddenlies'.

4.  "Leadership levels can be increased in teenagers exponentially" - It doesn't take much to pull the leadership out of the students in your ministry. Because of the desire for youth to count and have an impact on their world it can be simple to draw leadership out of them. I have often seen student leaders grow the most when I have given them responsibility in their sweet spot. Having students shadow me or one of my leaders can give them the experience they need to become young leaders more quickly. 

These are my top picks for your Youth Ministry this week. Take a look at these myths and truths and see how these can help you reach teenagers in your Youth Ministry. Recognizing the mis-conceptions and the truths in this generation can give you a lead in your philosophy of building a great Youth Ministry.