1. Prayer will become a bigger priority.
As church budgets continue to get slashed because of the stagnant economy, youth leaders will be "forced" to turn to prayer instead of money to drive their youth ministry programming. Youth leaders will spend more time in the prayer closet and less time shopping for the latest youth ministry BSO's (Bright Shiny Objects) because they will have less money to shop with!
The money that youth leaders still have in their budgets will be used to purchase curriculums that will exponentially help their youth groups grow deeper and/or wider in a significant way. Youth leaders will just say no to the stuff of fluff. Youth ministries in 2011 will be more effective because they will be patched together with prayer and duct tape instead of the latest/greatest youth ministry fads.
2. Family-based youth ministry and traditional youth ministry will find their dancing rhythm.
Instead of growing antagonism between these two competing philosophies of youth ministry, both will find more and more of a comfortable partnership in the typical youth group. Youth leaders will recognize the vital importance of parents driving the process of spiritual development in their own children. Churches will start to recognize that not all of the teenagers in the average youth ministry come from families that are Christian.
Either/or will be replaced with both/and.
Effective youth leaders will turn from quarterbacks (the center of attention) to conductors (serving as a crucial link between pastors, parents and teens) as they work together to help coordinate a concerted effort for maximum spiritual development in the lives of their teenagers.
3. Youth ministry will move from the "temple courts" to the "gritty streets."
Youth leaders will increasingly recognize that Jesus spent more of his time in the streets reaching people with the gospel than he did in the temple courts lecturing. As a result youth leaders will be re-introduced to the importance of unleashing teenagers to the urgency of reaching their friends at school (aka "the gritty streets") with the good news of the gospel as opposed to focusing solely on the weekly youth group meeting (aka "the temple courts.")
As youth leaders become more and more passionate about the cause of Christ, they will discover again the vital importance of teen-to-teen evangelism. Campus ministry will be re-energized as youth leaders discover that it is the epicenter of the typical teenager's world. It is where relationships are built and fostered. It is where Christian teens can make disciples and lose friends for daring to share their faith.
Youth ministries that move from the temple courts to the gritty streets will begin to see more and more of their growth due to teens reaching their own friends for Christ. The excitement and spiritual growth that this will trigger will encourage youth leaders to stay faithful to Christ and focused on THE Cause!
I believe 2011 will be a great year for youth ministry. It will be when more and more youth groups are introduced to a radically new youth ministry paradigm…that is 2,000 years old.