I've been reading through a short book from UK authors Nigel James and Gary Smith called Seven Myths of Youth Ministry: How to Re-Ignite Your Passion. The Church in England is in rapid decline - I remember hearing Dan Slatter speak about it back in 2001 at Group's National Ministry Convention, citing a conservative estimate that 1,000 young people are leaving the Church there every week. Every week.
So it's with great interest that I'm drinking in James' insight with the 7 myths.
The 7 Myths are:
Myth #1. We really make a difference in our one hour a week.
Myth #2. Size isn't important.
Myth #3. We don't preach - we are just sowing seeds.
Myth #4. You have to ask them what they want.
Myth #5. Young people lack commitment.
Myth #6. Young people are the future of the church.
Myth #7. We aren't in the entertainment business.
Before my fellow pastors in student ministry begin hitting the "Comment" key, I gotta admit James' arguments are compelling - thus far I'm in total agreement (I'm up to Myth #2). I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this British import.
One quote that stuck out to me in particular (commenting on Luke 10:2):
"With very few exceptions, the harvest field around every youth group is plentiful. I remember Ron Luce, from Teen Mania Ministries in the States, always emphasizing to youth leaders when he would speak to them that 'Jesus didn't just die for twelve quality people.' Jesus died for every person, and in our context every young person, in your town or city... Jesus demonstrated the love and the sacrifice that shows where God really wants all young people to belong, and that's in His family."