Mythbuster #9 - The Bible is Only Taught In Church

Myth #9 - The Bible is only taught in church.

We youth workers do like to talk.  And we do like our “youth talks.”  Youth talks are an important part of youth ministry because part our “programming” is teaching.

To answer what we should talk about, I’d like to start with the following quote from William Berger, a camp director. He posted an answer to a youth ministry series of questions for the blog, Life in Student Ministry.

“The pastor gives a few random verses to go with the topic and in 20 minutes the teens walk away with nothing more then its bad to smoke or its bad to hate people or something like that. Please don’t misunderstand me, there is definitely place for topical messages because we need to hit on the issues they face, but I feel as if that’s all that occurs from 6th grade to graduation.

Longevity in Youth Ministry

I believe the ideal situation for a youth worker is to serve in a local church over an extended period of time and the best of the best options would be to serve in a local church for an entire career. That rarely happens, even in a senior/lead pastor position. Even so longevity is an important principle to strive for first in our vocation and secondly in our location.

While they are difficult to find, spotting a veteran local church youth worker (15-30 years) is not quite as rare as seeing Bigfoot. I’m in my fourteenth year of local church youth ministry but I want to reach thirty plus.

As I process how to become what I write about, I believe the issue is a lot of believers, and therefore youth workers, have an incomplete and skewed ecclesiology and this shapes the way we do youth ministry and our commitment to the local church.

Longevity on Youth Ministry - A True Experience

While the tenure for a Minister to Students is increasing, it still is shocking to most people to hear that I am “STILL” at the church that called me in 1988. So many people believe the disproven statistic that Student Ministers only serve on average 2.5 years before moving that when I confirm I am still there, I am usually met with a look of bewilderment more appropriate for an encounter with E.T. However, when I look at my contemporaries in youth ministry that are at their 3rd or 4th church or are not in vocational ministry at all anymore, I sometimes feel the same way. Part of me feels like it happened overnight. Part of me also feels like I have been here my whole life. The latter is actually more accurate. When we moved here, my wife and I had only been married 3 ½ years, our son was a little over a year old and our daughter wasn’t at all yet! She is now a college sophomore. Not a single kid in my current youth group was even born when I started and some of their parents were middle school students in my group. When I go to a gathering of youth workers, those my age in full-time vocational ministry are usually hard to find. Yes, sometimes I feel like an old man. At other times I feel like the youngest guy around.

For many reasons longevity ministers like I still have to “prove ourselves” even more to the “young guns” of youth ministry. Yet there are some real blessings to longevity. One of them is you realize that substance, not your personality, needs to be the first level of your ministry built on the Rock of Jesus Christ.