I by no means am an expert researcher. I haven’t gone out and polled a thousand churches, a thousand youth pastors, or a thousand students.
I have talked with several Pastor’s and Churches over the last few months, and I interact with students daily. Granted, these students and Leaders are in a specific area known as the North-Midwest, so what I have observed may not be true in your neck of the woods, but these two observations are definitely running in my mind quite a bit the last few months, and I think they could have significant impact’s on the way I do Youth Ministry, and possibly the way others do Ministry as well.
Observation #1 – Students are Longing for more
This is nothing new, I think every Youth Pastor can tell you this. It’s visible from the students who come up to Youth Pastors and tell them “I’d like it if the youth group dug deeper into the bible” but it honestly goes deeper than that. The popular topic at conferences lately has been the failure of Youth Ministry the last few decades, and how shallow it has gotten. I know you can find at least a hundred other, better blogs on this topic, but honestly students are longing for more. It may not always show, and it can easily be mistaken. But I think any research will show you that this generation of students is making a shift from the supposed post-modernism “There is no truth, its all relative” to a more “I just want SOMETHING to be true” attitude. This generation needs adults with convictions, and I think that can often be lacking in Youth Ministries. Simply sugar coating the truth or the gospel isn’t good enough for these students, and it shouldn’t be. This is a problem that goes far beyond simply saying “I don’t do Pizza Party ‘bait-n-switches’ because they are lame” to something much deeper.
What I want to work through is the idea that students can go anywhere to have fun, Fun is not a good enough reason for students to come to church. There is something deeper that students are longing for, and it’s up to us to show them how to find it.
Tomorrow I will talk about how I think this notion is impacting Youth Staff at churches, because if you don’t think it is, your wrong!