A youth minister walks into a restaurant and sitting at three different tables are three different groups of people. Teenagers, parents and volunteers. The youth minister knows all of them and cares deeply for all of them. All three groups notice the youth minister and gesture for him to come over, but he’s only got the opportunity to talk to one group. Which group does he choose?
Ever think of that situation? Probably not, because it’s a pretty limited situation. BUT, do you have an answer? You might think you do, but what’s your reasoning? Again, you might have an answer, but is it the right one?
Are teens more important than parents? Are our volunteers the most important people in our ministry? Without parents are ministry is only a drop in the bucket, right? So who is most important. Here’s an argument for and against each group:
The obvious is without teenagers we don’t have a youth ministry; therefore, they are important. They are not only the future of the church, but they are the present and young church. But should the majority of our attention go to them? We really only have 40 hours a year with them, so what can we really teach them, that won’t get erased by the world? We can teach them all we need to know but who holds them accountable at home? We make an impact by being good role models, but then again as one person, how many teens can we really impact…3…4…5?
Again we have the teens for 40 hours/year, but parents have them for about 3000/year, so wouldn’t it make more sense to put the effort into the parents? Wouldn’t it make sense to work ourselves out of a job where we would encourage youth ministry, to become family ministry, which would then mean that youth ministry was done in the homes? Isn’t it our job to team with parents, because without a strong family, the church’s most efficient way of evangelization is dead? But then again, what about the teens with non believing parents? What about the teenager who needs to evangelize their own family? Should we put them second to the families that are “more complete”?
We can only do so much on our own. There are only so many teenagers we can reach, there are only so many parents we can team with, if we do not have a good volunteer base. There are only so many events, trips and activities we can plan on our own. If it’s just up to us, then our ministry is limited to our ideas, meaning we can only target one type of teen, one type of family…but then again, maybe ministry needs to happen in the homes. Then again what about teens mentoring other teens? That’s a good idea, right? Wouldn’t peer ministry be more affective then a group of “not cool” adults?
Now the push back to this whole post is that, “No one is more important than the other, they are all equal.” I’m going to push back and say nonsense for the same reason we can’t both love money and God. For the same reason our job isn’t as important as our family. Something, someone will lose out. Even if it’s by a small margin, something has to win out…right?
So Who Would You Choose? Parents, Teens or Volunteers? Why?