Does Youth Ministry Work?

I have been in youth ministry full time for 12 years. I have learned many lessons and had shifts in philosophy. Over the last year I have been struggling with the idea that youth ministry doesn’t work. I have found that very few students (who parents are religious) will ever exceed the spirituality of their parents. Last week we gave a survey out to our students. The results confirm what I thought.

55% of our students and parents rarely or  never pray together outside of meals.

56% of our students and parents rarely or never read their Bible together or have a family devotional.

32% of our students and parents rarely or never talk about God or religious themes.

Notice This

37% of our students rarely or never pray on their own outside of meals.

50% of our students rarely or never read their Bible outside of church or a Bible class.

37% of our students rarely or never talk about God to their friends.

Do you see how closely they are related? When I went through the surveys the parallel between the two were undeniable. As the parents go so go the kids.

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2 responses to “Does Youth Ministry Work?”

  1. John Henson says :

    Perhaps there is another way to look at this. Isn’t it important to apply the correct standard to the measurement? Does everything have to work the way we think it should? Shouldn’t we be examining this on the basis of how much good is being done and if youth ministry is serving the purpose of preaching and teaching God’s word?

    Youth ministers aren’t going to change the minds of all kids, but they may change some. They are preachers and teachers of God’s word to people who are reaching the age of responsibility. They can have a positive effect. They can make a difference.

  2. Jason Jarrett says :

    This survey data shouldn’t surprise anyone. To me, it confirms the notion many have had for years that we need to be equipping parents with Gospel-centered lessons and encouraging/challenging/motivating them to pass it on to their children.

    The cultural view of children has crept into the church and it is time for it to leave. Who in their right mind ever thought a 22 year old boy (yes boy) out of college could be entrusted with children in the church – to disciple, mentor, teach, etc. That is the job of parents.

    To me, the data shows just little parents are involved. Step it up mothers and fathers! (fathers especially)

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