Before we begin, you need to know that I spent years as a student participating, as a volunteer serving, and as a pastor leading in the teen ministry trenches.
I began as an idealistic young man. I was going to love Jesus, love students and serve God to the best of my abilities.
But the daydream ended fast. I had no idea that the biggest opposition in student ministry would come from within the church instead of from the outside.
Unless you’ve been there yourself, you’ll never understand a student pastor’s burden and why many don’t last long.
There are exceptions to what I’m going to share, but I’m afraid it’s a growing problem. I’ve heard from a lot of student pastors who feel the same.
Here’s the big problem: Most churches either don’t value the student ministry enough, or they value the wrong things.
And because of this, far too many young people are abandoning the church after they graduate.
Although we could debate the statistics, the simple fact is that most student ministries see more students falling away after graduation than remaining in their faith.
Difficulties of Teen Ministry
So here are three major problems that I believe have led to the failing state of student ministry in most churches:
1. WE MEASURE GROWING CROWDS, NOT DISCIPLES
We don’t evaluate the effectiveness of the spiritual education of teenagers.
All we value is the numbers.
I’ve seen student pastors with no biblical education who regularly take the Bible out of context (bordering on heresy) get promoted just because they are good with people and can draw a crowd.
Is that the goal? Is that why churches should have teen ministry?