Why Youth Matter

Young People Are The Future

Youth matter. At face value this is not a deeply profound statement, so why say it? Youth matter! The whole world knows this reality, but knowing that something matters, that it is important, is only the beginning. Those who know and understand that youth matter don’t simply sit still with this knowledge, they take action. Why? Because they understand that when something matters, it demands action from those who comprehend its value. 

What defines youth? They are young, dependent, impressionable, and moldable. They have energy, passion, and are unbridled by realities in their dreams for the future. They are in that unique stage of life where everything they touch leaves its mark on them. However, perhaps the most important thing about youth is that they are the future. 

The adult world often overlooks youth, content to dismiss them and their thoughts, opinions, and dreams, because they believe youth are simply too young to have anything of value to add. If youth matter, shouldn’t that affect the way the adult world engages and interacts with them? If today’s youth are tomorrow’s adults, doesn’t it stand to reason that the adult world should be extremely interested in the youth of society? New ideas, fresh change, and radical commitment to a cause have always found their center in youth. Those who understand this are the agents who drive change, and they do so very effectively. 

For the last several decades, the Western Church has all but ignored this truth. Now, before you say, “Not true…my church has a thriving youth ministry,” please understand that engaging the youth of society goes well beyond simple Wednesday night small groups and Sunday morning worship. Engaging young people requires moving into their sphere. Like workers entering a mission field, it requires going and working on their turf. It means investing in them without expecting anything in return!

Consider these realities: 

  • 94% of all Christians are saved before the age of 18.
  • 70% of all young people who grow up in the church leave by 18. 
  • 4% of the millennial generation has a biblical worldview.

If the Western Church really understood why youth matter, these numbers would not be what they are. This reality should be driving churches to take action among the society of youth surrounding them. The Western Church is dying because it has ignored its future!


The Church must take action!

So what needs to be done? It is imperative that the Church spring to action. This path to action must start by asking the right questions.

Why are youth leaving the Church?

They are seeking answers! The Church has failed to provide answers for them, so they have turned to other sources. The tragedy here is that the Church possesses the greatest set of answers ever written! The Bible…God’s Holy Word. However, as the Church has continued to question, turn away from, minimize, and reject God’s Word, its youth have done the same, shunning the very source of the answers for which they seek. 

But it goes much deeper! It is not enough to simply give an answer. Youth must understand the “Why?” beyond the answers. For too long, youth ministries have avoided answering “Why?” It is in the “Why?” questions that youth find the foundation of their faith. Without the answer to “Why?” they leave to seek their answers somewhere else. 


– Why is youth ministry failing? –

There are several main approaches to youth ministry which are prevalent throughout the Church. These approaches are proving ineffective. Therefore, it is essential that they be adjusted to achieve mission results. 

Youth Ministry as Entertainment

Youth ministry must be more than simply a place to go for church youth. No matter how good the youth pastor, staff, and youth leaders are, when a youth ministry turns into “something to do,” ministry effectiveness is lost. 

Youth Ministry with a Solely Inward Focus (Retention)

Ministering to the youth in the Church is important, however, this should never be the sole focus of any youth ministry. Inward focus ministries die, always, because there is no growth.

Youth Ministry with a Solely Outward Focus (Seeker)

Youth ministries that are driven by a focus that is wholly outward limit themselves in reach and never develop church youth into effective disciples for mission work. These ministries also tend to fall into the “entertainment” pitfall since so much effort is put on attracting youth from outside. While numbers may increase, these ministries will see the highest member attrition rate during the transition from youth ministry to adult ministry. 

Youth Ministry by the Few (Leader Focused)

Youth ministry must be the focus of the entire church. Given the high rate of lasting conversions among youth, it is imperative that the entire church view youth ministry as one of its primary mission fields. 

Youth Ministry as a Church Within a Church

Nowhere do the authors of the New Testament speak of three “bodies of Christ” or three churches, one consisting of believers from 0-12 years old, 13-18 years old, and 19 and up! Youth ministry must never become encapsulated unto itself. It must keep, as a primary focus, the preparation of youth to take their place in the Body of Christ, the Church. 


– What must youth ministry do? –

Build missionaries!

Effective youth ministry is essentially a missionary training center, producing well-trained disciples to carry the good news of the Gospel to their peers. To do this, youth ministry must have both an inward and outward focus; inward to make disciples of the believing youth from within the church, while equipping them with an outward focus of evangelizing their peers. 

Answer the “Why?” question!

Effective youth ministries are not afraid to answer the question “Why?” To this end, they are committed to training their staff and leadership team to scour the Scriptures in search of the truth and the answers to life’s many “Why?” questions.

Hold fast to God’s Word!

The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. It is “perfect,” “sure,” “right,” “pure,” “clean,” and “true (Psalm 19:7-9).” It is the source for all wisdom and understanding. It is the believer’s manual for living a godly life, and the power of God for the salvation of sinners. 

Involve the entire church body!

Youth ministry is not a task only for the youth pastor and a team of youth leaders. It is the job of the entire church. Youth make up the richest and most responsive harvest waiting to be gathered in by the church. The task of harvest must be undertaken by the entire congregation. 

Send out the youth!

Youth are most effectively reached by other youth. To this end, youth ministries must not only train-up young believers but also send them out into the mission field, fully supported by prayer, encouragement, teaching, discipling, and training, as well as leading them by example. 

Why do youth matter? They are dynamic! They are open to change! They are willing to give up everything for something that they are committed to! It is essential for the Church to understand the depth of zeal and passion that lies within young people. Youth ministries must make harnessing and directing the drive and passion of its youth for the gospel a priority. With such a plentiful harvest actively seeking the answers to this life, answers which are to be found within the Scriptures, the Church simply cannot afford to ignore youth any longer. To do so would be a blatant disobedience of Jesus’ command to “make disciples.”


About the Author

The calling which God has placed on my life to found Another12 Ministries stems back to my own high school days. Even then, before understanding the calling, I had a sense that God was moving me to bring the gospel specifically to young people. I have spent over 12 years ministering to youth in various capacities. For the past 7 years, I have been actively involved in traditional, church-based youth ministry, leading several student groups.

In 2017, God firmly placed the vision for Another12 Ministries on my heart, and, together with my friend and small group co-leader Chris, the journey to starting this ministry began to take shape. In preparation for this task, I entered seminary in the spring of 2018 at the Rawlings School of Divinity at Liberty University, and in the summer of 2019 God prompted our family to relocate from Seattle to Atlanta.

I am driven by a passion to see the Kingdom of God flourish in the youth of this world. The recent shifts in world culture have led to a mass exodus of youth from the Christian faith, and the result has been devastating to the Church. I am praying that God will begin an unstoppable revival that will capture the hearts of young people around the world, leading to the increase of His Kingdom. My desire is only to be obedient so that God will receive all the glory.

In addition to my ministry experience, I have a Masters of Divinity from Liberty University and a Juris Doctorate from Oak Brook College of Law. I am blessed to have been married to my best friend Tara for 20 years and we have two amazing sons.