I didn’t say youth ministry was easy because it really isn’t. Like anything that takes perseverance, involves working with people, and where results are difficult to measure, youth ministry is hard work. We work for years pouring into people, getting disappointed, and wondering if what we are doing is worth it or if it is working. So yes, it can be pretty difficult work.
But it isn’t complicated. I think that sometimes we make youth ministry overly complicated. Models, studies, research, seminary degrees, methods, administrative processes, programs, 6-year plans, complex events, leadership training, and more. Honestly though, youth ministry isn’t complicated. It’s fairly simple. Here’s what it takes:
- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – Without God, it isn’t ministry, it’s just youth work.
- Scripture – The Bible is our foundation for our relationship with God. Without it we can’t know much of anything about this God to whom we are pointing teenagers.
- Prayer – Prayer keeps us in communion with God and makes it less likely for youth ministry to become about us. It opens us up to what God might have in mind for ministry.
- Listening – Just listen to a teenager. When you listen to someone in the context of scripture and prayer, then what to do in youth ministry should become pretty obvious. Pray about what you hear. Read scripture relevant to what you hear. Respond to what you hear.
If you simply focus on these four things, then you will be well on your way to great youth ministry.
It’s quite simple, really.