Mythbuster #5-7

I am no Adam Savage or Jamie Hyneman, real Mythbusters.  No cast models or explosives were used in this Pair of Cleats.  This is just some quotes and some of my thoughts to blow up these youth ministry myths.  However it is up to you to declare each myth as “Busted”, “Plausible”, or “Confirmed” as you follow what God leads you to do in your own youth ministry.

Myth #5 – With proper planning, I can grow my youth group.

I am going to draw on my veteran-status (I’m not young and hip anymore either) for this one.  From my years of involvement and networking, there is very little we can do to make a youth group grow.  We can read the books, attend the seminars, change our programming (because we do program), and implement ideas we glean from other youth ministers which may make our youth ministries better.  But better doesn’t mean growth.  Growth just happens.

It happens at some churches and it doesn’t happen at some churches.  Some churches just get a small youth group despite all efforts.  Some churches get a large youth group.  Growth is a supernatural thing, something that God has ordained for some and not for others.  It has little to do with our works.  It has all to do with God.


I can’t back this up with anything more than my years in this ministry.  I’ve seen many youth workers get caught up and burned out in works to grow something and I’ve seen growth just happen.  I can only surmise that it has all to do with God.

Myth #6 – Bigger youth ministry is better.

In the Youthworker Journal (March/April 2006), Steve Gerali did a series on the seven deadly sins.  For the sin of gluttony, he titled the article “Bigger is Not God’s Blessing.”  This is a look at gluttony that was not expected.  To quote:

“Youth workers in small ministries fight to be bigger.  They look at other churches and want to be like them.  I have watched many youth workers leave churches to go to something bigger and ‘better.’

“…Youth workers in bigger churches are always striving to be bigger still.  There seems to be a rush of satisfaction with having many.  This rush drives their desires for more.  The status of being the very best, doing the very best, and having the very best is fulfilling.  I was talking to a youth pastor who told me his church youth ministry was the biggest ministry in the city.  He then tacked on, ‘It’s great being a part of something awesome that God is doing.’

“This kind of ambition is what the early church fathers saw as gluttony.  …Youth workers of bigger ministries have achieved a status, believing that they are the only ones who are doing ministry right and the believing that their ‘fat cat’ status is a reward from God.

“…Gluttony is a lifestyle of desiring more.”

Do I need to comment on this?

Myth #7 – Youth ministry is broken.

I’m getting tired of reading the posts and the blogs about how youth ministry is broken.  As Mark Senter foretold to us in his 1992 book, The Coming Revolution in Youth Ministry, youth ministry was nearing 50-years old and every other cycle of youth ministry changed after that 50-year mark.  Youth ministry as it was known 30 years ago has changed greatly in the recent 15 years.  We could whine that it is broken or we can embrace that the next revolution is happening and get on with following the plans God has laid out for you to do to see what this next revolution will look like.  I think these are exciting times in the youth ministry world.