Nobody knows the future except God. Personally, I find that a very comforting idea since He is almighty, all-knowing and all-loving.

Any predictions therefore on the future of youth ministry have to be seen as earthly wisdom, without any guarantee of accuracy. That being said, I’d love to share my thoughts on where I think youth ministry is headed in the upcoming posts.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently as I shared in an earlier post on why I was going to a youth worker’s conference in England. I’m hoping for a good exchange of ideas and opinions here, aimed at helping and encouraging each other to keep fighting the good fight to reach young people for Christ.

Why the future of youth ministry matters

When you’re down in the trenches of youth ministry on a day-to-day basis, it can become hard to see the bigger picture. You see what’s right in front of you because that’s what’s demanding your attention. You don’t necessarily see what’s behind you or beside you or what’s to come.

I’ve found it extremely valuable and inspiring to step out of those trenches every now and then and take the time to have a good look around you.

Where are you?

Where are you going?

Are you going in the right direction?

Why do you go where you’re going?

Where is everyone else going?

Youth ministry can be kind of a jungle, with so many voices telling you what to (not) do, so many trends to follow, so many new things to try.

If you ask yourself these ‘where-are-we-and-where-are-we-going” questions on a regular basis and take some time to find out the answers, you’ll find you’re not as likely to lose your way.

You are the future of youth ministry

There are two points I want to make. The first is that you should focus more on your future in youth ministry, than on the future of youth ministry in general.

Lars Rood recently wrote a post for The Youth Cartel on the same topic. In it he wrote something that resonated with me: “If I’m honest though I should admit that I care less about the direction we “think” it will go and more about my continual place within it. (…) What makes you tick? What gets you up in the morning and excited to do your job? What are the things that you feel are non-negotiable things that you want to hang on to for a long time. Find them and do them and your future in Youth Ministry will be so much brighter and longer.”

The second point I want to stress, is that you are the future. The future of youth ministry matters to the extent that it’s good to take the time to analyze where you are and see where you’re going. But every prediction is just that: a prediction. The future is not set in stone, it depends on the decisions you and I make every day. You can change the future by God’s grace and power. Don’t ever feel like a victim of certain developments. If you don’t like the way your youth ministry is headed, change direction!

In tomorrow’s post, we’ll have a look at the past of youth ministry, because without the past we can’t understand the present and we need the present to see what the future will bring. Stay tuned for more on the future of youth ministry!

Do you ever wonder what youth ministry will look like in the future? How does that make you feel?