.::Youth Ministry Food For Thought

“The history of primarily calling inexperienced and inadequately trained young people to do youth ministry reflects the myth that youth ministry is a beginner’s job that doesn’t require much education, experience or skill.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Youth ministry is one of the most demanding minsitries–so demanding and frustrating that many pastors and congregational leaders don’t know what to do.”

–Roland Martinson, professor of youth ministry at Luther Seminary

Martinson here has encapsulated what I have beleived for many years, that youth ministry requires the most gifted of our church community to serve.  I believe it takes the broadest skill set to be successful in youth ministry.  One needs to be an excellent teacher, Bible Scholar, friend, relational being, organizer, administrator, manager, creative, safe driver, cook, artist, worship leader, game developer, computer programmer, marketer, counselor, spiritual director, to be successful.

I hvae offhandedly said, “Anyone can preach, but it takes some really special to be a good youth minister.”  Maybe that is not so true, but as one who has given 16+ years of his life toward the vocation of youth ministry, I have to believe that to some extent.

The question for me then is that why isn’t there more seasoned veterans in the trenches of youth ministry?  Why don’t pulpit ministers think of stepping “UP” in to youth ministry one day?

Why don’t our churches become overwhelmingly over-protective of our youth as they are our most precious natural resources?  Be over protective by perhaps over funding our youth programs and staffing it to the point that says to the congregation and the teens, “No matter what, we are going ot take care of you.”

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