How Youth Ministry Kills The Church

How Youth Ministry Kills The Church

How Youth Ministry Kills The ChurchI love Youth Ministry, and I believe it is important (hence me being a Youth Pastor).  If I am honest though, Youth Ministry can also do a lot of damage to students as well.

Rather than build the church, we can often do harm and kill the church instead.  Here are five ways Youth Ministry kills the church:

Youth Ministry kills the church when we teach students to love the “youth group” and not the church.

When we fail to teach students to love the church we set them up for failure and we ultimately kill the church.  If students age out of the Youth Ministry without a love for the church as a whole, they will struggle to find their place with the rest of the body.  Eventually they will fade, not being able to relate to the context they have now found themselves in.

Youth Ministry kills the church when we give students a whole lot of fun and a little bit of Jesus.

I’m not saying there is no place for fun; Fun is essential to Youth Ministry…and life.  Too often in Youth Ministry though we fill our programs and “ministries” with fun only to throw in Jesus as a necessity.

The problem with this should go without saying, but I will.  It isn’t even enough to talk about Jesus a lot.  We must focus and center our ministries around the gospel.

If our students do not have a firm and clear grasp of the gospel, fun will not help them when real life happens.  Yes play together; yes laugh together.  Go further though.  Weep with one another.  Pray with one another.  Encourage one another.  Serve with one another.

Youth Ministry kills the church when we focus on building a ministry rather than a culture

You will build a culture whether you realize you are or not.  Too often Youth Pastors spend all of their time an effort towards building a ministry without realizing the culture that is being created.

A ministry will change.  The methods of your ministry will change.  The people in your ministry will change.

Culture will outlast a ministries transitions.  Culture will strengthen the ministry you build.

Youth Ministry kills the church when we as Youth Pastors repeatedly leave every 2-3 years

When students see Youth Pastors come and go so frequently, they become conditioned to expect adults in their life to leave.  With the landscape of many families we serve becoming increasingly filled with broken families, and single families homes, the revolving Youth Pastor only does further damage.

I’ve written recently on why Youth Pastor’s leave around the 2-3 year mark.  The sad part is that Youth Pastors do not have to leave so frequently.  By doing so they not only damage students, but they rob themselves.

Youth Ministry kills the church when we teach students to be good rather than to run to the gospel

The reality is, none are good aside from Jesus Himself.  Too often we unintentionally teach students to be “good Christians” rather than gospel centered Christ followers.

We must teach students the gospel.

What are dangers do you see emerging at times from tendencies we have in Youth Ministry?  Leave a comment and share below!

  • Kurt Libby

    One of the dangers that I’ve seen that has sparked a change on Sundays is the lack of work by the preacher to apply truths for high school students.

    I think that church should make sense for 19 year olds. They shouldn’t need a special college group ministry. Church should minister to them and give them a chance to serve.

    The only way that happens in practice is if Sunday mornings become more pertinent to their lives before they graduate high school. We have challenged the preacher, no matter who it is to apply the message to the elderly, the empty nesters, the divorced, the re-married, the married with children, the single moms, the singles, the daters, the engaged, the career oriented, the unemployed, the college students AND 16 YEAR OLDS. It’s just one extra application, but remembering that has helped our youth engage with the Church instead of loathing it.

    • @misterlib:disqus that is such a great point! If believers of all ages, backgrounds, and life situations can’t find application in the Word when it is preached, they will never see its relevance in their daily life.

      Sometimes it is easy to forget we’ve been called not to pastor a “church,” but “people who ARE the church.”

  • Jeff Oetter

    Awesome post!! Shows the power of youth ministry – both good and bad.

  • Thanks @jeffoetter:disqus. I definitely believe in the good we do in Youth Ministry, but unfortunately we can do some damage as well.

    “With great power comes great responsibility.” – Peter Parker