Youth Ministry and the Future of the Church Post 1

Primary Audience – Local Context
Secondary Audience – Fellow Youthworkers and Kingdom-builders

My calling/vocation of youth ministry has been on my mind a lot lately and there are a number of reasons for that. For a while, I hesitated in really blogging about youth ministry because there was always the tendency of coming across as either bragging or complaining and I feel I do enough of those already. I’ll do my best here to be as honest and fair in a Christian way as I can but please remember I offered this disclaimer (and for those of you who despise disclaimers, appreciate the fact that some of us really do need them).

Like so many, I am interested/concerned/excited about the future of the church. And because of that, I am also focused on the present church. I am among those that feel that we should be stronger and more faithful to the way of Jesus and among the many reasons, consumeristic spiritual mentalities, personal selfishness, pseudo-Christian homes, poor church leadership is also inadequate youth ministries. I don’t believe the problems have anything to do with liberalism, secularism, or pluralism as countless books of the last twenty, thirty (forty?) years have insisted.

A long time ago, I heard someone say something like. “Fix the heart, fix the home, fix the church, fix the world.” It was way too linear for me but it stuck. There is truth in it but the landscape is quite complicated these days and questions emerge like, “What exactly is the heart and what would you fix it with?” Someone (like me) would quickly say, “With Jesus of course!” and that questioner who ask with all sincerity, “Which Jesus? You have all these traditions and denominations that all claim to be Biblical interpretations from the Bible, it’s really confusing ….”. Good point, we need to fix the church too. Which “church”? Hmmm … you see where I am going with this.

Given that people like me (youth pastors and vocational clergy) need to do our part in our own Christian devotion, our own families, loving our spouses and children, etc. But further, the Church needs to get out of the keep “their people happy business” and get serious about discipleship and worship for all ages and among other factors, it’s clergy that need to champion this.

There are some days that I feel we have too many churches and because of the number, they are in competition with each other which creates a market, which converts worshippers of the Triune God to consumers (of either spirituality or a cheaper, easier form of Christianity). Other days, I feel we don’t have enough churches that subtly communicates to a non-believing community, “Yep, it’s optional, not even the Christians really care.”

As a youth pastor, I find that we are many times guilty of saying/doing similar things. Many times we take the easier way out and attempt to “build a youth program” that fails to do several things. It fails at discipleship in favor of attendance and good times, fails at supporting the home and community (at times undermining the home/community) and fails to inspire a sustaining hope and belief in the way of Jesus that matures in later adolescence and adulthood.

Don’t get me wrong – a lot of fantastic things are happening in the Kingdom of God, but I believe that we can/must do more to have a stronger present Church for the sake of the future Church. Thoughts?


  1. Great post; looking forward to the rest of the series.

    This popped into my mind as I read: the future of the Church is sure, because the Church is Jesus’ bride. I agree with many of your insights, and I think we as the Church has a long way to go. But let us go forward boldly, knowing that our identity is not in what we do, but in who we are–the bride of Jesus.

    To answer more directly, everything we do must point to Jesus. If that’s true in our personal lives, it will be true in our ministry lives. If it’s true in our staff meetings, it will be true on Sunday mornings. Great thoughts here.

  2. jay dusold says:

    hey tim i am looking forward to following your posts on this subject. miss you brother.

  3. Tim – i’m right there with ya. In thought anyways. Im going back through yoru stuff to catch up on this posting series. Once again I’m delighted to see that we are on the same page. For far too long youth ministry has been diluted and it has been a travesty for both the upcoming generations, as well as the local church.

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