Over the past 3 years, I have really been thinking about what theologies are youth workers responding to? How are youth pastors thinking theologically?
I strongly believe all youth ministries not only need a strategy but a theological emphasis. The youth worker allows the Scriptures to shape their ministry strategy and programs, and not the reverse. Here are 3 theological foundations that are influencing the trenches of youth ministry:
(1) Family Ministry (Deut 6 and Proverbs 1:8-9): There is an insane increase of young-kidless youth pastors who know mom and dad are the primary spiritual leader in a student’s life. Student pastors are on mission to get the family and community involved in the life of a teen. Student pastors are realizing that shepherding does not happen from stage but at home and with an adult small group leader.
(2) Spiritual Formation (Galatians 5): Spiritual formation is a sexy term for sanctification. Spiritual formation in youth ministry is all about developing the “whole (shelom)” student. The formation process happens when Biblical knowledge is mixed with experience, and the encountering and revealing of the Holy Spirit.
(3) Missiology(Luke 10.1-3): Youth ministries are wanting to be marked as a place that sends young people out that demonstrates the Kingdom of God to others. More and more students are wanting to do Jesus style of ministry outside of the church. Students are wanting to become missionaries across the world and across the street so they can restore the world. Basically youth pastors are reminding teenagers their entire life is missionary work so at the age of 12 they better get to work if they said the “sinners” prayer.
I think it is cool that there are a lot of youth workers thinking theologically so they know for a fact their youth ministry ways are the teachings of God. In the next 10 years, if youth ministry does these 3 theologies really well, youth ministry will be on a great trajectory.
Do you agree or disagree with my assessment?
What are some other theologies shaping youth ministry?