Core Values for Youth Ministries to thrive by 2040

Few months ago, the cooling system of my car had developed a fault and needed a fix. So off I went to do the needful.

Mr B claims to have been in the trade for over 20 years and with strong terms, recommended that the compressor and condenser be changed or else the car cooling system would stay that way. The total cost would definitely drill a hole in my pocket.

Then an old friend came along who recommends Mr P who has also spent similar years to Mr B in the trade.

Long story short, Mr P gets the cooling system fixed without changing the compressor and condenser. He says it was a minor blockage that stopped the cooling system from optimal performance.

Besides the thrill of having the cooling system working, I was impressed with the constant reassurance and confidence that Mr P exhibited as he did his work. He had such a demeanour that assured you that he knew his onions.

With this experience, my mind initiated a fast forward click to 2040 and zeroed in on the work we do as youth ministers. 22 years from now sounds like a long time but come to think of it, will you be relevant if you stick with this youth ministry calling for the next 22 years?

From cell phones to curriculum, the changes the world has ever experienced is nothing compared to what has changed in the last 25 years. The world is evolving so fast that if you are not knowledgeable, you are edged out of relevance because knowledge still remains the currency of power and relevance.

When we talk of relevance, kindly disabuse your mind from equating it with fame or popularity. That’s not the thrust of this article. By relevance, we simply infer to the quality of value we would be adding to the people we primarily serve in youth ministry which are youths.

Reflecting on the lessons to glean from Mr B and Mr P, here are the core values you should appreciate going forward and never undermine them if your youth ministry will be relevant before and beyond 2040.

1. Value Failure:

Instead of weeping and whining over your slip ups today, learn from every mistake/failure and decide not to make the same mistake.

Although, failure can cripple one from attempting again, look on the bright side of what you can learn from every mistake. Every problem/person you encounter in the line of learning is a potential doorway.

2. Value Honesty:

In a world where the youths we serve are exposed to torrents of information on the internet, we mustn’t feign pseudo knowledge to impress or intimidate.

When you are ignorant or uncertain about anything, don’t attempt to save face. Own up to your inadequacy so that someone can help you out but never feign expertise in matters beyond your present capacity. You can ask for some more time to research and revert on the matter.

3. Value Partnership/Teamwork:

Besides the active and personal partnership with God to do His work on earth, we must remember that God places us in communities. What you don’t have, someone else has and can do. Search out for those who are competent in fields you aren’t and humbly partner with them or recommend your youths to them.

4. Value Mentoring:

Back to the example of Mr B and Mr P. Mr B was sole proprietor and worker in his workshop. On the other hand, Mr P had apprentices who did what he could do and he only had to supervise. It works both ways.

First, look out for people (the precise word here is a mentor) who have subjected themselves to a training to become a kind of youth minister you should be. Second, mentor someone to do ALL you have learnt/or learning to do in the youth ministry. A supporting Scripture for this value is 2 Timothy 2:2 NIV “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

5. Value Reading:

Stay abreast of new information that connects to your interests and the passions of your youth group. Today, any information is almost accessible on Google making you inexcusable. Learn all you can through books (eBooks too) and contextualize it to fit your youth ministry.

With these values in place, you can be sure to stay relevant in Youth Ministry come 2040. I intentionally didn’t add any spiritual disciplines to these values because they are the immovable foundation for even attempting to be in Youth Ministry.