Why Youth Ministry is SO Important and 3 Things to do About it!!! by Tyson Howells
The most important ministry in the church?
In our line of business you have probably heard someone say that Youth Ministry is the most important ministry in the church. Is this self preservation or the truth?
You’ve probably heard someone quote a statistic that claims most people come to faith in Jesus before the age of 18. Is this the truth or an urban myth?
Here’s what I can tell you, adolescent development shows that this is an important stage in your students’ lives. Wayne Rice in his foundational book Junior High Ministry plus Mark Oestreicher and Scott Rubin in their book Middle School Ministry explain. Let me show you.
Birth to 2 Years Old = SAMPLING
If you have spent any time around a new born you see them sampling EVERYTHING. The easiest example is give them something to hold. What do they do? They put it into their mouth. Why? Because they are sampling, they are discovering.
3 to 7 Years Old = TESTING
This is when the child pushes the boundaries. If I yell and scream in the middle of the store do I get my way? If I put on my really cute face will I get away with not eating my vegetables?
8 to 10 Years Old = Concluding
This is when the preteen has concrete thinking down pat. It is a black and white world, even with complex issues like immigration or racism. If you asked them you would get a simple answer.
Then it happens. That big, scary word, PUBERTY!!! Try to think back to what you were thinking when you went through puberty. What feelings were coursing there way through your veins?
Something very interesting happens with puberty. Lets be honest, lots of things happen during this time, not all of it being pleasant. But one of the things that happens is that a reset button is pushed.
11 to 14 Years Old = SAMPLING
It begins again. Instead of sticking toys in their mouth (lets be honest, that could be happening) they are trying different clothing styles, or different genres of music, or different social groups to hang out in.
15 to 19 Years Old = TESTING
There poor parents. They have to live through it all over again. This time they are getting drunk and seeing what the consequences are. They are pushing their social boundaries, home boundaries, and church boundaries.
20+ Years Old = CONCLUDING
By this point in life we have come to conclusions on what we believe. I truly do believe that Jesus can radically alter anyones life, but for the most part conclusions have been made.
SO WHAT DO WE DO WITH THIS INFORMATION…
One week a student might be listening to death metal and dressed in all black. A month later they are singing Adele. Be patient. Let the students sample and work things out.
Aggressively Present Jesus
These students are sampling all sorts of worldviews. DO NOT take it for granted that they will default to Jesus. Aggressively present Jesus. Show, explain, and live why Jesus is the best option.
Don’t Minimize All Of The Change
Puberty is crazy. It is one of those questions to ask God in heaven why we all had to go through it. Remind yourself often what it was like for you. Do not make light of it for your students. All of this change is a crazy big deal for them.