Your student ministry can’t be like the one the parents of your students grew up in 20 years ago.
There seems to be a desire of the good ole days in student ministry. Parents sometimes want the ministry to be like the one that God used to develop them into followers of Jesus.
What has changed since 1995? That list is too long to even start isn’t it?!?
Most youth groups don’t really know each other. 20 years ago there wasn’t 10 different high school and 10 different middle schools in your community. Also the rise in private schools and the super rise in homeschooling means that students never see each other out of youth group. That is an issue you didn’t have to address in 1995.
Busyness – Wednesday nights were protected for church stuff – even outside of the bible belt. Now Sunday mornings aren’t sacred to the community. If you played a sport it was for a season. Now you got to 3 camps a year, play travel ball, all-stars, and more. If you want a scholarship, you’ve got to make A’s in all your college level classes. I think in 1995 there might have been one class that was college level, now you can go into college with 30 plus credits.
Stress – See above. This lifestyle has led to the cutting epidemic. Also so many of our students on powerful antidepressants.
Sexting/Pornography/homosexuality – If students wanted to see pornography it took some effort. Sexting was not an issue. The cultural view of homosexuality was quite a bit closer to a biblical one.
I could go on and on with issues and cultural differences. The point is culture has radically changed. It changes rapidly. The Gospel is too important to use outdated methods and dead programs just to keep people happy. The next generation is too important not to do everything to reach for Jesus.
Some parents are still going to want you to do outdated stuff because that is what they loved in youth group. Love their student and do everything you can to reach them. Pray. Cast a compelling vision. Encourage those parents that you want what they ultimately want – their student to be a passionate follower of Jesus.
Let’s stop doing what worked in the 90s and 00s and start reaching this next generation of students and families.