I can be real and say that my Youth Ministry is included in this, but I also need to be real and say that just about every other Youth Ministry is included, too.
There is something that I feel every Youth Pastor is taught in school (at least those who go to school for Student Ministry) and its something we all know and learn, but if we were to be honest with ourselves, we are not passing it on to our students. If we sat down with our lessons/sermons from the last year, this thing would not be included in a vast majority of those lessons.
What I am talking about is Theology. We as youth pastors are collectively failing at teaching our students (A) the importance of Theology, and (B) what different studies in Theology are/accomplish/mean. The closest that my Youth Group came to talking about Theology was last spring when we discussed the difference between Christianity and several other religions. But even then it was a failure, because my students didn’t know enough about Christian Theology to tell where “Mormon Theology” or “Islamic Theology” was wrong or different 90% of the time.
I know for myself its easy to rationalize this, “Kids arent interested in Theology.” But the fact of the matter is that if I only did sermons on what kids are interested in, all of our sermons would deal with video games, facebook, or dating, and honestly, the more I think about it, those sermons would be a heck of a lot easier to give if the kids had somewhat of a theology set up in place.
The sad part for me is that I know what I am going to do, and its something a lot of other youth pastors would do. I can sound tough and motivated to go teach Theology this Sunday night, but in all reality I’ll instead tone it down, maybe start by doing a study with a small group on theology. But honestly, even that is better than nothing, and maybe that is what I should actually do.
How are you doing at teaching your students Theology? If you are doing something, I’d love to hear about it, because this is honestly one of the biggest weaknesses in Youth Ministry today, and I think its time we start doing something about it.