I’ve grown up in Church- I don’t mean to say that I went to Church while growing up. No, I literally spent my childhood at Church. I crawled under the chairs during all night prayer services making forts with my friends. I snuck into the Church kitchen and drank all their half and half packets. I went on youth group trips to Six Flags when I was still 8 years old, and listened to the youth sermons outside the door. Ive seen youth ministers come and go, and youth ministries rise and crumble. Yet, I have never seen Youth Ministry in such a desperate state as it is now.
There is a crisis going on nationwide with young Christians leaving the Faith at an alarming rate. The Youth are the Church’s most valuable asset; they are as gold to a jeweler, coal to a miner, or oil to a nation. It is in the youth that strength and vigor rest like coals of a faint fire, waiting for the right fuel to begin its roaring. If a generation of young people would awaken to the majesty of Jesus Christ there would be no stopping their fervor for His cause. Young people are willing to live and die for a cause so long as it is worthy of their life and death. They see through the shallow, and will not lend themselves to a self-congratulatory movement of Christian celebrity.
The fire that longs to burn in the heart of every young person merely needs an initiator, but the initiators are nowhere to be found! In my youth church growing up we had so many fathers, but so few willing to be sons. Now, we have so many sons, so many broken youth from broken homes who have figured out that the world’s system is an unending cycle of pain and humiliation. We have so many daughters who have figured out rather quickly the complete superficiality in the world, yet they see no difference in the woman in the church. Our relationships look the same, our speech is the same, our vices are the same, our self-promoting is the same, and our results are, sadly, the same.
We are in a crisis in youth ministry, and this crisis cannot be fixed by the superficial. Although our conferences may make it look like we aren’t on a sinking ship- the lights, sounds, and parties will only distract everyone from the reality for so long. We don’t need more events, series, or celebrities. We need fathers. Fathers that will begin to rebuild the foundation of their youth ministries across America. Fathers that will do it for no recognition or fanfare. Leaders that will receive vision from God for their own youth ministry and dedicate years to a cause that will neither make them neither rich nor famous.
If the Youth Ministry is to be rescued, it will not be rescued by a book, speaker, or a seminar. It will be rescued by leaders who cast aside visions of grandeur, and instead opt to serve when nobody is looking. It will be rescued by leaders whose idea of traveling is picking a young person up for coffee. It will be rescued by leaders whose idea of preaching isn’t to stadiums, but to the specific young people whose eternities God has entrusted to you. It will be rescued by leaders whose idea of worship is to make the name of Jesus famous- not their own.
Youth Ministry is in a crisis. The winds are whipping, the ocean is fierce, and the ship is about to be swallowed up by an unforgiving sea. Luckily Jesus is, as he always has been, still on the boat just waiting for us to be desperate enough to actually call on Him for assistance. If we will log off twitter, turn off the lights, and acknowledge our nationwide need for Jesus to intervene on behalf of a generation, He who is faithful until the end, will do a miracle, again.