As I travel the nation I meet a lot of young people (high school/college age) who are thinking about going into youth ministry as a vocation. I also meet a lot of youth leaders who wonder if they should have chosen a different ministry career path because of hassles and heartbreaks they have endured in their current season of ministering to teenagers.
Often youth ministry is confusing, exciting, discouraging and exhilarating all within the same week! But it's worth every late night, every broken heart and every Dodgeball-induced injury when just one teenager is transformed by the power of the gospel!
Whether you're thinking about going into youth ministry in the future or wrestling with your current calling here are 10 reasons why youth ministry is a strategic career choice…
1. The vast majority of those who trust in Jesus do so by the age of 18.* The older people get the harder it is to get them to trust in Jesus. Youth ministry is a strategic career choice because you are ministering to a spiritually open demographic that is more likely to trust in Jesus than adults are. In the words of my grandpa, "Get the gettin' while the gettin's good!"
2. Jesus most likely chose the disciples to follow him when they were teenagers. If Jesus chose to pour the majority of his earthly ministry into a handful of teenagers then maybe we should follow his example if we want to make a true and lasting impact.
3. The average teenager has 100x's more impact on their friends than a stranger does** (so equipping them to share their faith with their friends only makes sense!) If we can train them to use this influence to nudge people closer to Jesus then we could see a gospel advancing movement spread quickly across the nation! By the way, an easy way to equip them is to have them download the Dare 2 Share app (free) and watch the short training videos.
4. A teenager that knows, owns, lives and shares their faith has a much stronger likelihood of keeping their faith long-term (thereby making a life-long impact on others!) Your investment in them now multiplies through them to all they will minister to for the rest of their lives.
5. God used David to kill Goliath and Esther to rescue Israel when they were just teenagers. He can use your teenagers to do great things to. Train them to change the world through Christ!
6. Teenagers are idealistic and want to be used for a greater cause than themselves. There is no greater cause than THE Cause of Jesus to make disciples who make disciples until every person hears the good news!
7. Youth leaders have an audience that cycles so they can launch a new crop of world changers into universities and the work force every three to five years.
8. Teenagers and young people have been unleashed throughout history to launch revolutions! The gospel is the ultimate revolution of the soul!
9. The average teenager now has 425 online friends!*** What if they were unleashed to reach them all with the good news of Jesus!
10. The joy of seeing a Gospel-advancing youth ministry changing your community one teenager at a time!
These are 10 reasons why youth ministry is a strategic career choice. If you choose youth ministry as a vocation you may not make much money on this side of eternity but you will be flat-out rich in heaven :)
**Groupthink and Peer Pressure Research
***Pew Internet and American Life Project