Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reflections on Leaving Youth Ministry 1

So, I know I'm late with these promised blog posts, but I honestly haven't been slacking on it. In actuality, I've already written two posts...and deleted both of them. The first post was frankly too emotional and dealt with frustrations that I had apparently not even processed yet (they sort of came to the surface as I wrote). After I finished it, I re-read it and asked Dana to read it. She confirmed what I was already thinking: it was very therapeutic for me, but frankly wouldn't be helpful to anyone else. In my second attempt, I tried to write a "What your youth minister wishes you knew" post. It really just didn't work.

So here's the thing...youth ministry is in trouble. For all the attention and resources devoted to youth ministry, the "retention" stats are abysmal. Roughly 75% of teens abandon their faith between high school graduation and College. (oddly enough, smaller churches with no organized youth ministry tend to have roughly a 75% retention rate) Those stats are actually pretty well known. Many people aren't aware of the fact that youth ministers are also burning out at an alarming rate.

I could lob out criticism about all of the problems in our current approach to youth ministry. However, I think it would be more helpful to simply propose some ideas about potential ways forward. Watch for my totally subjective thoughts on this next week.

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