Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 3.5.14: Why Youth Ministry Matters So Much

The annual Akron area Breakout Youth Conference is coming up in a couple weeks and I’m excited to be involved. “Wait – aren’t you a senior pastor?” I can hear the questions now. Well, yes I am. And not only was I a youth director/pastor for 10 years before my current position, I still think youth ministry is really important.

Here are three reasons why:

1. Their minds aren’t made up.

I know the Holy Spirit can reach anyone at any time. Don’t question my theology. It’s the stats that make youth ministry important: the vast majority of people who become a Christian do so before they are 21.

2. Being a teenager in 2014 is harder than it was in 2000, and way harder than years before that.

Two sets of comments. First, being a teenager is harder. I really don’t think the peer pressure is worse. I think the external influence is worse. Advertisers are geniuses and know how to target teens. Pornography is easily available. Facebook makes narcissism very easy. The economic outlook remains grim, dimming the future just a bit.

Being a Christian teenager is even harder. To love Jesus and serve Jesus is just not as easy as it was 14 years ago. The culture as a whole looks more negatively on Christians than they did before the new millennium.  Family structures and moral values are generally weaker. The Bible is under complete assault.

To live for Christ and receive great support doing that is difficult, especially as a teen whose beliefs are still forming.

3. Youth have good energy and fresh perspective. Adults can learn a lot from this.

Adults (myself included) have lots to learn from teens. I enjoy hearing teens’ perspective on their faith and on the world in general. It IS different, and it’s enlightening to hear them process what is going on around them.

Think. If you’re an adult, what is your attitude toward teens? If you’re a believer in Jesus, what’s your attitude toward teens in your church?

Act. Do something intentional every week to let a teenager know you’re glad they’re a part of your life or a part of your church. A positive word, handshake, or quick conversation can affirm much in a teen’s life. If they look awkward on the outside, imagine what they feel like on the inside.

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