Think about it… the youth ministry is a fairly new field, but has underwent many shifts.
Youth Ministry in the
80s= Sunday School
90s= Event, Pizza, and Gospel Message
Late 90s= “Purpose” Driven Youth Ministries
2002= Postmodern Youth Ministry
2009= Multiple youth ministries under one youth ministry
What is interesting is looking at what types of youth pastors come out of these different shifts.
Youth Pastors in the
80s= old guys/gals who love students and do it for free
90s= Wild and crazy youth guys with no seminary training but a killer conversion story
Late 99s= goatees, models, and programs
2002= pissed off youth pastors who don’t like the church or home school kids
2009=informed, contextual, and open
I seriously think the success and longevity of youth ministry really hangs on the shoulders of youth pastors. What type of youth pastors are we producing for the future? That may be an encouraging or a scary thought.
Will the future youth pastors value:
education? church? theology? mission? programs? the Bible? numbers? Mega churches? small churches? Jesus?
My predictions are that youth pastors will need to have:
They will need to be experienced in both the real world and church. We are living in a post-Christian culture, which means church is not exactly the norm. Too many church youth pastors are too church experienced and have no real world experience. Essentially youth pastors will need to have more of a culture intelligence.
The future youth pastors will need to have a solid character. Character is everything. Character includes such things as self-discipline, modesty, teamwork, integrity, purity, virtuous, hard work ethic, loyal, honest, courageous, fearless, tenacious, intelligent, consideration for others, and determined.
The youth ministry world needs more youth pastors that are street smart. Notice I didn’t say church smart, but street smart. The future youth pastor will need to know how to integrate culture, theology, and youth ministry. It will be huge if youth pastors are seminary trained and have a great public school education. Churches will need youth pastor to be very comfortable explaining why the other faiths are wrong and be able to clearly articulate a logical response without looking like a Christian idiot.
Every youth pastor leading a youth ministry will need to have a clear sense of mission and a cause for why they exist. As churches decline, it will be imperative churches have a prophetic youth pastors able to communicate truth and tell it like it is while progressing forward regardless of the pain and resistance.
Youth ministry does not pay well. But we have tons of women and men who love youth ministry, which will compel them to do it and get paid peanuts. Inflation is only increasing which means youth pastors will need to be bi-vocational if they want to take care of their family. So if a person wants to commit to youth ministry, then it means working the late night shifts at McDonalds or writing a youth ministry book that pays great royalties.
I think (and I can be completely wrong) we will see less and less of these postmodern pansy type of youth pastors who are extremely moody, and see more and more of youth pastors that are committed to Truth, Jesus, action, missions, the local church, character, and exegesis of the Bible.