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As of late, I have been in a lot of conversation about the future of youth ministry. I honestly believe the youth ministry field is wide open. What worked in the past is barely holding on and what is working doesn't have a specific, corporat-ized, and highly reproducible model. Rather what is working is highly contextual models that only work in particular churches in particular regional settings. I am only a 27 year old youth pastor, who is somewhat familiar with the majority of youth ministry philosophy and methodology. I am haunted with the question of: Where will youth ministry be in 10 years?

The Future of American Evangelical Youth Ministry

futureWhere will youth ministry be in 10 years?   What worked in the past is barely holding on and what is working doesn’t have a specific, corporat-ized, and highly reproducible model.  Rather what is working is highly contextual models that only work in particular churches in particular regional settings.

Here are my future projections and suggestions that youth pastors need to consider as we move forward:

* US youth ministers need to learn from the United Kingdom youth workers

It seems like the UK is always ahead of the game.  I think we need to really glean from our UK youth workers because they are further along than us. 

*  Youth ministries will downsize

I hate to break the news, but I really think the mega-youth groups will become obsolete.  As our technology progresses and advances students are going to deeply need the sense of belonging, acceptance, and community even more than they do today.  It is apparent that blending in with the masses will not be an entry point for students.  They only way to get intimate is to keep things small and simple. 

*  Youth ministries will become high contextualized

Youth ministries will reflect the cultural features of where they are located.  The classic line of:  the message of the Gospel stays the same, while the method changes really speaks to my point.  The 21st century youth ministry will need to deeply rely on the Holy Spirit to direct and guide how youth ministry is orchestrated.  Youth pastor really need to do their best to be architect and arrange a youth ministry that reflects the students every day world.

*  There will be an increase of female youth pastors

I think there will be more arising and strong female youth pastors in the mix. 

*  There will be more miraculous healings

Youth pastors and youth will really begin to tap into the miraculous healing power of the Holy Spirit.  I think there will be a deeper need for kids to submit to the supernatural powers, namely the Holy Spirit that can and will transform their life.  The Holy Spirit will be the agent of change and be a great source of apologetic.

*  Youth ministries will decentralize from the actual church building.

Youth ministries will be outward and more missionally focused.  Some youth ministries really pride themselves on their beautiful youth room, which will unfortunately be useless in 10 years.  I think the typical youth room will be at different spots and place in the town.  Youth pastors sometimes buy into this lie that if I just build it, they will come.  What if we took all our the money we spend on projectors, screen, wii, graphic designers, etc.. and spent it on a specific need in the town?  Should youth pastors build our empires, namely our youth rooms or build into the community in which we minister too?      

*  Youth ministries will host multiple networks of youth.

I think young life, FCA (fellowship christian athlete), multi-church youth groups, etc…. start unifying and banding together with one central Kingdom purpose.  It becomes more about being the Kingdom, rather than our “kids”, “building”, and “ministry”.  Basically youth pastors befriend any organization, group, club that loves teens and loves Jesus. 

*Youth pastors will unified with other youth pastors

We need each other.  It will be imperative to connect and network with other youth pastors online and in our communities. 

About Jeremy Zach

Orange XP3 Specialist | Youth Worker | MDIV | Hot Sauce Addict | Dr. Dre Beats Lover

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