Wow. What a loaded question. This topic was given to me this week. I’m not even sure I know where to begin. The ministry of Youth Ministry is a very complex issue, while also being very basic. My mind has been ravaged this week by how answer this question—how to deal with this topic. Countless thoughts have come and gone. I want to be thorough as possible, but as basic as I can.
See when I think of Youth Ministry I just don’t think of the students. I see the parents, the schools, their coaches, teachers, siblings, media, society, church culture, secular culture, biblical models, scripture, church doctrine, church history, biological reasoning, psychological reasoning, emotional reasoning, presuppositions, connotations, known and unknown expectations, lies, misconceptions, truth, life, reality, and much much more—complexity. After all of this I come back to one person, Jesus—He is all they need, I need, and the entire world needs—simplicity. A system based thinking builds a construct on how these are all related. Each reason or concept cannot be separated from another. They cannot be isolated because they all vastly interconnected; yet, each one is distinct in its role in a student’s life.
Why Youth Ministry?
Because Teens Need Jesus.
Teens need the Gospel shown to them through an avenue they can trust. Teens are living in world where postmodernism and technology rules the day. Everyone is a skeptic because truth is relative. In a world or society where there are no absolutes, where is the truth? Cynicism and narcissism is ingrained into the minds of youth (most of them don’t even know it).Who and what does someone trust? Youth today need Jesus more than ever. Adults, role models, and leaders have failed them. Teens are quickly turning into adults at a younger and younger age, while adolescence grows. We all need truth. Teens need truth. They need Jesus Christ–the way, the truth, and the life.
Teens don’t need another hero. Society has bombarded them with “heroes.” These heroes eventually fail because they are all flawed. The illusion is no longer there. The fabrication of something or someone out there that can actually live up to the hype they bring is surpassed by the preconceived notion that nothing is as good as it seems. Teens and youth need a person, a person that lives up to the hype, a person that is actually who they say they are, a person who can defeat all the skepticism, cynicism, and narcissism.
Jesus Christ is the only one who can bust through the walls, that have been built, with abounding love and grace. That He actually died for them and wants LIFE for them, rather than death. He wants to show them the truth that this world is attempting to twist. He is the only one who can strip all the fallacies of this world away and shine the light of truth through the darkness. Teens need to be shown and surround by loving and caring adults who actually believe in this truth and have been transformed by it. Shown that Jesus, as a person, transformed them and that faith is an action, not an abstract idea. They need to be shown and told that Jesus is a person who does not fail, that He lives up to the hype. Jesus is a person who wants them to live out faith with works because Christianity is more than a title, but a lifestyle.
I cannot help, but think of these bombings at the Boston Marathon. Two young men, early in life, not more than a few years removed from their teens. Youth Ministry is important because Jesus can change minds and hearts like nothing else. The church needs to continue to support Youth Ministry and Youth Ministries that actively and relentlessly pursue teens like Jesus has pursued all of us.