Why is this happening?

That’s where we left it with part 1 of the post. On to part 2…

Our culture has changed and many of our methods have not. We have to take responsibility as educators and youth workers for what we need to do differently and what we need to do better. We have to take responsibility for becoming better teachers and better students.

In what areas have we become stagnant?

In what areas have we always done it that way?

In what ways are we allowing current culture to distract us from what is best for our audience?

In our changing culture everyone seems to be busier. One of the most damaging effects of busyness that I’ve seen is in the parent involvement. At such a crucial time we are seeing less and less positive modeling for our youth. Maybe some of the parents don’t know any better. Maybe some of them don’t care. Maybe some of them are doing the best they can. Maybe some of them don’t think it’s their job. Isn’t that why they pay teachers and clergy?

I am a strong advocate for families being the primary influence in the lives of their children. With that being said, when you take into account the scrutiny that schools and churches are coming under, how do you respond? It’s my belief that schools and churches will increasingly have to take on the burden and responsibility of “parenting” if we are to achieve the goals we desire. I realize this is a dangerous statement. Because it is such a dangerous statement let me reiterate – I do not think it is the responsibility of churches and schools. However, something must be done to make up the ground that is being given away.

“How do you motivate the unmotivated?” I don’t know where this comes from originally, but it is something I hear frequently at school. And that question also isolates the core issue we deal with in youth ministry.

How do we equip, inspire, or motivate students to live the truth? Admittedly, this presupposes that we are actually teaching the Truth in a way that is meaningful to our youth. My personal opinion is that we’ve done a great job with “meaningful” but we have a ways to go with “Truth.”

But anyway…

Can one “make” youth have the right heart attitude?

Can one “make” youth live out the truth they know?

Can one “make” youth care enough about church to make it a priority?

What can I do? I can only be responsible for them to the extent allowed by God. It sounds a lot like parenting, doesn’t it? It breaks my heart that I have to see them struggle to make it their own (or not).

Pray for our youth and their families like life and death depended on it – it does.

Create opportunities for meaningful relationships. Treat it like it’s important – it is.

Teach the Bible like as the ultimate source of authority – there is no other way.

Be at peace and trust that God knows what He’s doing – He does.

There has been a lot of talk in different places lately about the idea that youth ministry isn’t working as well as it should anymore. For the most part, this idea has been promoted because so many youth are leaving the church when they leave high school.

Some people suggest that people are leaving the church because of a lack of relationship within the church.

Others suggest that the church is too consumer-driven and the youth go looking for the next bigger and better thing.

Still others think that the parents are responsible.

The flip side to that is that some think that the youth group doesn’t do enough. Not enough games, too many games, not enough Bible, too much Bible…

Our youth are isolated from the rest of the church.

Our youth don’t have facilities of their own.

The preaching has too much fluff.

The preaching is too high and lofty.

The music is ancient and doesn’t connect.

Church is boring.

The pastor is boring.

The youth pastor is boring.

No one cares about me.

I just plain don’t care.

And no one really knows the answer…

Is it that way with adults and what some people mockingly call “big church?” Is anyone looking to see if there is any correlating information about adults coming and going out of churches? Are they asking the same questions and making the same comments?

Let’s take it a step further. For some time the public schools have struggled with rising expectations and trying to equip students to meet those standards. Ask people why the schools are failing and you are likely to see a list of things similar to the list above. This has become such a major issue that the government has started to step in, replace teachers, and close down schools. Admittedly, there are a lot of arguable issues here such as funding, how scores are created, how students are measured, and “No Child Left Behind,” to name a few. In theory, however, these are all issues related to helping the students.

Few of these things seem to be working. Why?

Why is this happening?

To be continued…