Greg Stier: Stop Doing the Same Thing Over and Over in Youth Ministry and Ask “What If?”

Greg Stier, CEO and founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries, speaks to thousands of youths in this undated photo. | (Photo: Dare 2 Share)


Someone once defined insanity as “doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.” Isn’t this what typical youth ministry is doing? We have the same basic strategies as we did 30 years ago and we are getting the same basic results (maybe even less!)

Think about it this way, the typical youth ministry is an endless cycle of the same brand of camps and curriculums, the same basic pizza and programs, the same kinds of mission trips and messages. And it’s leading to the same kinds of results!

Have you ever had that nagging feeling down deep inside that something is wrong with youth ministry, that something big is missing in our strategies and philosophies? In moments of raw honesty countless youth leaders have confided in me that they’ve had that low hum of doubt in the depths of their souls at times.

But, instead of trying to discover what’s wrong and what’s missing, most just try harder. As a result many burn out, move on or just blindly choose to live in the cycle of insanity because they don’t know how to break it.

So how do we stop the insanity in youth ministry? How do we turn the tide and actually start gaining ground when it comes to reaching what Barna calls the first post-Christian generation in the history of the United States?

If we want to stop the insanity we must start reading the Gospels and book of Acts from a youth ministry perspective. We must look at Jesus at the ultimate prototype for a youth leader and the disciples as the ultimate example of what a youth group could look like. We must start looking for the key elements that made the early church so effective at making and multiplying disciples (and I guarantee it wasn’t having the coolest youth room in town!) We must reimagine the entire system of youth ministry, not just in light of the culture, but in light of the Scriptures!

And, as we read these passages of God’s Word we must start asking the question, “What if?”

What if we fused our discipleship and evangelism efforts together like Jesus did with his disciples? In Matthew 4:19-20 Jesus permanently welded together our evangelism and discipleship efforts when he told his young fisherman followers, “Come, follow me…and I will send you out to fish for people.”

What if we helped teenagers understand that sharing the Gospel was the inevitable consequence of following Jesus?

What if we embraced the reality that the best way to get teenagers to grow in their faith was to mobilize them to go share their faith? If you think about how Jesus ran his “youth group” of mostly teenaged disciples it was more missions trip than Sunday school.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Greg Stier