Why Youth Ministry Needs To Stop Being Treated As An Expendable Ministry

Most churches today consider youth ministry an optional ministry. This is because youth do not contribute to the church budget. They are needy. They are messy. They are expensive. It’s natural that the main focus is on adult ministry. They pay the bills and they too need shepherding and guidance.

Children are our future, both for the world and the church body. These are things that most church leaders know. That is what we say over and over again, but do we behaved in a way that reflects that? I believe that if the majority of churches embraced that idea they would appear radically changed.

Here is why churches need to start treating youth ministry like it’s a core function of the church.

Catholic church in New York1. Without young people to take the place of older church members the church will disintegrate.

Without young people injecting fresh ideas and perspectives most churches grow old and stale. With that, young people who do visit rarely stay. Why would they want to continue going to a church that does not speak to them and their current life circumstance?

As the years pass on the current set of faces get older. They need to be replaced with new ones. If this does not happen then eventually the congregation with shrivel to the point of no return.

Their is nothing wrong ministry for more mature Christians. But it can’t come at the expense of rejecting the youth.

out of reach2. Without young people churches lose touch with whole population segments.

Ever watch a group of older and more seasoned church goers trying to do an outreach to young families or even teens? It’s painful. I witnessed one a 60 something year old try to rap to 65 teens. They thought it would be more affective in getting a message to them than just talking to them . Let’s just say that it could have gone better.

That is why we need young Christians in the church. They know the culture. They know the language. They know how to connect with their peers. Not only do we want them in the church, we need to empower them to do ministry and be leaders.

youthful energy3. Youth bring energy and life.

One thing I can say with certainty is that you’ve never stepped into a dying church and it was full of young people.

Think of every failing church you’ve ever visited. It was full of older Christians who wanted to stay in their comfort zone and usually no one under 30 is left.

It’s not impossible to obtain younger church members with whoever is in the current congregation. But it will take a lot of work and probably changes to how things use to be. You cannot be afraid to change things up. If what you are doing was affective then your church wouldn’t be shrinking.

resources4. Without serious focus on youth your church will not have the resources to reach them.

Most youth do not just saunter into you church building because they saw your sign. It takes intentional outreach. It takes time and effort. It takes the right people.

When Billy Graham started in ministry he put on a Christian concert in a local football field. Then made a lot of people upset. He also brought thousands to Christ using this method with youth.

You will need a youth budget. You will need to allocate ministry resources and space for youth activities. You will need, at a minimum, volunteers or a youth ministry to put on events. These don’t happen by accident.

Youth pastors are used to buying off-brands of snacks and food already. They can manage a budget well. But the church has to know that small investments reap small rewards.

poor youth pastor5. Without funding for the ministry you will struggle to maintain leaders who can reach and teach the youth.

I can’t begin to tell you how much of a difference it makes when a church hires an educated and responsible youth minister and pays them enough to live on. Many of churches go through youth pastors like they have the plague because the youth pastor just can’t live on minimum wage, while paying off school loans and repairing their 20 year old rust bucket, every month. They are lucky if they can even afford to live away from their parents. If you want to obtain a skilled youth minister and retain them, you had better pay them.

If your budget is tight, I know it’s tempting to cut youth ministry first. But this is just going to start the downward trend. Bring enough youth into the church and in the long term you won’t have budget problems. I can’t even count the number of parents that have changed churches because they wanted their kids in a good youth program.

I’ll end staying what I said previous in the post:

One thing I can say with certainty is that you’ve never stepped into a dying church and it was full of young people.

Comments and discussion welcome below!

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