A Better Idea Than Youth Ministry
by Mike Yaconelli
Youth ministry is a good idea. But there’s a better idea.
Before we go there, let’s look at what’s good about the good idea of youth ministry.
Good Youth Ministry
Relevance. Relevance is good. It means students can think, talk, write, and sing about the gospel in a language they can not only understand, but incorporate into their lives now. That’s good. Very good.
Relationship. Relationships are good. Youth groups are places where kids can learn something about relationships, about friendships. They learn the value of praying together, working together, being together, and serving together. In healthy youth groups they learn how to be less cruel toward those who are different; they are confronted with a gospel that asks us to love each other—even when the person to be loved is uncool, ugly, uncoordinated, overweight, or a geek. That is good. Very good.
Youth ministry is about safety. Safety is good. It gives young people a glimpse of grace. At its best youth ministry is a place where students are safe: safe to be honest, to be real, and to express what is deep in their soul. Not all youth groups are safe; but where there is safety, it is good. Very good.
Youth ministry is about fun. Fun is good, too. Very good. Young people have very few places where they are encouraged to have fun. Students should spend a lot of their childhood laughing. Youth ministry helps young people rediscover genuine laughter and fun. Fun is good.
Youth group is good.
But there’s a better good.
It’s called church.