Hope reigns over youth ministry

Hope makes humanity unique.

No matter how bad things may look, you can always choose hope.

Hope is the reason a widow can smile at her spouses funeral. And hope is the reason a woman living in a tent can shock you with a smile and call out to God with thanksgiving when she is destitute.

Hope is the fire that brings warmth to your heart during your darkest hour.

The way I see it, hope is winning in the lives of many friends in youth ministry right now.

The last few years have rattled us to our core as two realities crushed our confidence:

  1. We realized that the way/methods/modes we experienced youth group and even came into a relationship with Jesus weren’t effectively reaching the students in our lives in the ways or with the veracity we had grown used to.
  2. The economic crisis changed, foundationally, the way our ministry was financed. Many of us lost our jobs or were forced (or given the opportunity) to take on additional responsibilities in the church.

While, from a humanist perspective, those crushing realities should have devastated youth ministry, I think it has made youth ministry better. When circumstances should have snuffed out the dreams of our heart, hope blew a steady, gentle breath onto the embers, igniting the flame once again.

From my perspective this last period of youth ministry has brought about two amazing things which I aim to demonstrate more vividly in the months to come:

  1. Youth ministry was never truly about a model anyway. Youth workers have created fresh ways to share Jesus’ love with adolescents built on the best practices of “what we grew up on” and melded into the needs of individual communities we serve.
  2. Youth ministry was always a calling as much as a vocation. When the money got cut back and even when people lost their jobs– they still chose to minister to adolescents because that is who they are more than what they were hired to do.

So, here we are! We have run the gauntlet and survived! Circumstances can not snuff out hope!

I am snubbing my nose at those who have declared youth ministry dead. Swooned? Maybe. Knocked down? Definitely. Humbled? You bet.

But giving up? Never.





7 responses to “Hope reigns over youth ministry”

  1. Brandon Johns Avatar

    My interest is peaked. I cant wait to read the upcoming posts about youth ministry changes.

    As a youth pastor who struggles with the mentality of doing things the same all the time, I am excited to stay plugged in to this.

  2. Jeff Goins Avatar

    Reading this right after Marko’s post on hope and happiness was perfect. Not sure if one inspired the other or if you two were just in sync. I am such a proponent of hope; it’s the lifeblood of faith.

  3. Chris Schaffner Avatar

    Good post Adam. I think the true test for us is whether or not we would still do what we do even if we didn’t get paid to do it. That kind of calling transcends.

  4. adam mclane Avatar

    @jeff- that was a creepy coincidence, wasn’t it? But read in tandem I agree… pretty cool!

  5. Jonathan Avatar

    I love reading this, though remember, many of us are still in the gauntlet. We are hopeful, but I don’t think many outside of our own kind understand the realities you’re describing.

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  7. mark riddle Avatar

    maybe hope is one of the characteristics of God as well and as eikons, or people made in God’s image we are called to hope.

    I too hope for great ministry to youth and their families. If that’s youth ministry as we’ve known it, so be it. If it’s new, bring it on.

    Also, let’s not pick a fight with people who’ve said Youth Ministry is dead, when they maybe be essentially saying what you just said.

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