Sometimes I get asked questions that smack of, “When are you going to get a real job?” In other words, when am I going to outgrow working with teenagers and settle down into a “real job” of ministering to adults.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I STRONGLY believe in the importance of ministering to adults. We need pastors, church planters, small group leaders, elders, deacons and others to disciple adult believers to grow deep in Christ and go wide with His message of redemption. I invested a decade of my life as a preaching pastor to adults, and wouldn’t change it for the world.
But, after 10 years of ministering to adults, I became even more committed to the kingdom-advancing nature and tactical importance of student ministry. Here are 10 strategic reasons why I chose to invest my life in youth ministry:
1. 85 percent of the people who trust in Jesus do so before the age of 18.*
2. The average teen has at least 200 online and face-to-face friends they can reach with the gospel.**
3. Teenagers have 100 times more influence on their friends than strangers have (which can be unleashed to advance the gospel).***
4. Generally speaking, adults would rather fund an outreach than actually reach out.
5. Many Christian teens attend public schools, which provides them a daily context for relational evangelism.
6. Teenagers are looking for a cause, and making disciples is the ultimate one (Matthew 28:18-20).
7. Young people have been used to trigger revolutions and massive social change.
8. Major spiritual awakenings have had teenagers helping to lead the way.
9. Teens are smart enough to make a difference, and dumb enough to think they can (which means they can!).
10. God has chosen teenagers throughout biblical history to advance His cause (David, Esther, Joseph, the disciples, etc.).
These are 10 reasons I have chosen to invest my life in student ministry. So please never ask me when I’m going to get a real job. I have one … and if you’re in youth ministry, you do too!
*Youth Ministry Research Project done by Dr. Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development.
**According to Facebook data, the average teenager has about 200 online friends.
***Pan Hui, Sonja Buchegger, “Groupthink and Peer Pressure: Social Influence in Online Social Network Groups,” asonam, pp.53-59, 2009 International Conference on Advances in Social Network Analysis and Mining, 2009.