For over 20 years, Youth Minister have been arguing that the youth are not the future of the Church, they are the Church of today. Frankly, it hasn’t worked, young people are still leaving the Church, youth ministry budgets are still low and staff levels have either declined or stayed the same. The “Church of today” mantra hasn’t worked. What if we return to the motto of “young people are the future of the Church” would it work any better?
Here are a few questions we might ask our Parish Council, Vestry or Elders board if young people are the future of the Church:
- Senior Minister: if you had to recruit your next Senior Pastor, Minister or Parish Priest from within your own people, are you developing future leaders? Do you have enough good Christian young people entering theological education so that your next Senior Pastor is a great God honouring leader? Who is your Senior Minister personally mentoring to take over their job in the future?
- Youth Pastor: if you had to recruit your next Youth Pastor from within your own people are you developing young people who have had a positive experience of youth ministry? Do you mentor young adults so that they feel supported enough to take on a leadership role in future years as the Youth Ministry Coordinator? If young people drop out of Church between the ages of 10-14, perhaps the 14 year old who just gave up on your church was your future Youth Pastor walking out your back door.
- Parish Council: if you had to recruit your next Elders board, Vestry or Parish Council member from within your own people would it be possible? Are there young adults coming through your church who honour God with their lives and in the future could stand for leadership in your parish? If you are not forming young people in your church today then the future of your Parish or Church leadership team is not looking good. Perhaps the young people sitting in your church today who are bored and making paper aeroplanes out of the bulletin are thinking the last thing they want to do with their life is serve the Church.
- Financial Partners: nobody likes to mention the fact that the Church has always needed, and will always need, people who earn income in the world and donate it to the Church. Are you investing in young people teaching them to go into the business world and be the best they can? Because one day those young people will earn a pay cheque and make a decision on how much they give to the Church. If they skip youth ministry and stop coming to Church, pretty soon your church will have fewer and fewer financial partners. Perhaps the 14 year old who walked out your back door never to return was going to become the key financial partner in the future of your parish.
If we truly believe that the young people are the future of our Church wouldn’t we do things differently? If your church had to recruit all its future leaders and financial partners from within your church wouldn’t you take the young people more seriously? It is my opinion that many churches don’t think the young people are the future or the present of the Church, they are someone elses problem. Many churches are doing nothing hoping that someone else is forming great leaders they can steal/employ years down the track.
Absolutely we should see young people as the Church of today, but if we are serious about them being the future of our Church then let us invest far more into youth ministry than we currently are too. Please a comment or share your thoughts below.
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