WF YM: Youth Services Are Designed as Outreach Opportunities for the Unchurched

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Youth services are designed as outreach opportunities for the unchurched. This title was originally “borrowed” from another youth ministry article like this was some new youth ministry idea that needed to be mentioned in an article. Isn’t this why we do youth ministry?

Teens are more open to God and church than at any other time in their lives. However, too many of the unchurched youth are completely lost by our customs and codes. You know those customs and codes like how we worship, hand motions to certain songs, etc. The unchurched have no idea why we do those things nor are they comfortable sitting through those things. Your worship band may be powerful but to be a visitor and sit through 30 minutes of singing to lyrics you don’t know, music that is too loud (a frequent mistake in youth worship bands), and body movements that are supernatural or just weird is very uncomfortable. Often visitors are invited to hear a guest speaker or the cool youth worker or to talk about a certain topic in a small group. They weren’t warned about the weird singing which is usually the first thing up at a youth service.

Thom Schulz, founder and president of Group wisely observed, “In the early days, I think people in youth ministry felt they should simply mimic what they’d seen happen in the adult world. So if adults have a preacher stand up behind a podium and preach at people, well, you do the same thing with kids–only you have somebody who doesn’t dress quite as nicely as the preacher and who uses a little more contemporary language. Well, that’s not really effective youth ministry.” (Group, September 10, 2004) This is something to re-think about.