Rethinking Youth Ministry

RE: “Youth Survey: Teens Lose Faith in Droves” in MacLeans

I think it’s time to rethink youth ministry (if you are already doing so, this note may be irrelevant to you). After reading what Bibby has to say, I think that things here in Canada may not be improved much in the near future. I’ve also been reading Philip Jenkins on Histories of Lost Christianities, which is also very unsettling.

Someone once said that most who convert to Christianity do so around the age of 15 (I don’t know if that is only in modern times, or if that is over the whole history of the church, nor how we would know that). If that is the case, why is Youth Ministry so often handed to young men and women who are only a few years older? Is it not time for older Christians to drop the “retirement attitude” (“I did youth when my kids were young”) and get on with converting the next lost generation?

Has there been any objective research showing the success of the Youth Ministry industry (schools, curriculums, media and conferences) over the past few decades? Anecdotal evidence would suggest that Youth Ministry, as practised by a majority of churches, is a failure for the most part (I realise that there may be other reasons for the decline in membership, but this variable needs to be taken into consideration). Ten years ago the rage here was “Youth Driven Ministry” which was basically needs based. But does anyone know what they need?
“It’s a sin to bore a kid with Jesus!” Perhaps, but it definitely a sin to be bored by Jesus. Boredom won’t help youth find Jesus, but is anyone considering why they are bored, or whether our methods of reaching youth is part of the problem?

My First Seniors Discount

This is the story of my first senior’s discount. I am 53. I don’t look a day over 52, I’m sure.

Today I wanted some adequate coffee, so I stopped by McDonald’s before my appointment.

“One large coffee, please.”

“Uh, are you 50-ish?”

“Yes, and then some.”


“Do I get a discount for that?”

“Yes! 51 cents instead of $1.25”

“Great. I bet you are uncomfortable asking people their age.”

“Yes, especially people without much hair. And I wouldn’t want anyone thinking I was 50”

“No, I would have said at least 58.”

(Okay, that last line is a fib; but a darn good one.)