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When Youth Ministry Stopped Innovating

When Youth Ministry Stopped Innovating

Thom Shultz is the founder of Group Publishing and Lifetree Cafe. (We know Thom through our close relationship with Simply Youth Ministry, which Group owns.) One of the things we like about Thom is that he's not afraid to challenge the status quo.

I think Thom raises some unique questions in this recent post from his blog entitled, "When Youth Ministry Stopped Innovating."

Below you'll find a teaser and a link to the rest of the post on Thom's blog. Check it out, then share your thoughts with us, or with Thom, or both! We're curious to know what you think.

When Youth Ministry Stopped Innovating

By Thom Shultz

Youth ministry has been known to pioneer new and effective forms of ministry that also influence the rest of the church. But that trend, in some churches, has largely reversed. Some youth ministries (and children’s ministries) try to mimic the form, methodologies and styles found in adult church, aka “Big Church.” That’s a switch from youth ministry’s earlier years, upon which I also reported in Group magazine beginning in the ‘70s. During that era, youth workers (predominantly volunteers) frequently experimented with approaches to ministry in order to effectively reach kids. And some of those things, because they were effective and successful, were observed and admired by the larger church, and eventually adopted. For example, the use of guitars, drums and contemporary music in general began in youth ministry and then were adopted in adult church. But now we see youth ministry weekly gatherings attempt to imitate what goes on at 11 a.m. on Sunday in adult church. It’s the familiar formula of half sing-along and half lecture. The youth pastor delivers a prepared monolog and the kids are expected to sit still and listen. Even though they’re not wired to learn or retain much from this approach.


To read the rest of Thom's post from his blog, including some good suggestions for addressing this issue, CLICK HERE.


About The Author

Andy Blanks

Andy Blanks

Andy Blanks is the Publisher and Co-Founder of YM360 and Iron Hill Press. A former Marine, Andy has spent the last 17 years working in youth ministry, mostly in the field of publishing. During that time, Andy has led the development of some of the most-used Bible study curriculum and discipleship resources in the country. He has authored numerous books, Bible studies, and articles, and regularly speaks at events and conferences, both for adults and teenagers. Andy and his wife, Brendt, were married in 2000. They have four children: three girls and one boy.