A new article in Sunday’s Washington Post discusses the new youth worker. Great observations that sound promising for our profession. Here’s a clip – you need to read the whole thing. Very good article.

The philosophy of the youth ministry business these days is summed up by a recent cover story in Group magazine, the industry’s must-read glossy: “Busting the ‘Cool Leader’ Myth.”

The sarcastic cover photo — a young, cute guy wearing a goatee and jeans, with a guitar slung across his back and tossing a Frisbee — conjures up memories many adult Americans carry of the people who were assigned by their church, temple or mosque to be with them when they were young. Youth ministers or youth directors were likely barely out of their teens — someone who organized softball and maybe led a simple Bible study.

That guy is passe.

Increasingly, a position once relegated to a low rung on the pay and respect scales is getting bumped up. Spurred by a new seriousness about young people’s spiritual development, youth ministers and directors today have more education, are staying in their positions longer and are being paid more than they were a decade ago, according to statistics and interviews with researchers and industry groups. University classes and majors in youth ministry are becoming more common as the field becomes more professional and establishes standards. Attendance at conferences for youth ministers is doubling as such sessions as the psychology of faith, managing a volunteer force and sexual behavior are offered.