Please understand how I am using the word “sexy” and don’t misinterpret what I am saying. Sexy has many definitions but the way I wish to use it in this post is as follows:
sex·y (sek-see] – interesting, exciting or trendy: a sexy project; a sexy new car (Dictionary.com).
I have not done any hard fast research on this but I wonder how many in seminary are studying for a preaching position versus a youth ministry position. I have talks with people in youth ministry circles and there seems to be a real desire for college students to become youth ministers for churches. I wonder why that is? Here are some reasons why I think youth ministry has become sexy:
- Working with teenagers gives the chance for individuals to make a change for the church for future generations. In a way youth ministry helps train the church of tomorrow (save your youth is the church of today monologue…you understand what I mean ) like no other position in the church.
- There is not as much public pressure for youth ministers as there are for preachers. Right or wrong the preacher is put under more scrutiny because his work is seen on a public consistent basis. While scrutiny is never evaded it certainly is less prevalent than a more public figure like the preacher.
- Youth ministry gives the minister a chance to stay young. Most ministers won’t tell you this but I really think this is a biggie when it comes to the industry. I see it on blogs, in books and have even participated in it where youth ministers play X-Box, watch movies with students, dress like them, talk like them and even act like them. I mean what more could you ask for? You get to play games, hang out, occasionally go to the office and go on killer summer trips. I’ll let you decide if I am being sarcastic.
- Teenagers are, often, more radical than adults. Does the name Zach Hunter ring a bell? This is a big one as teenagers (as misguided as it may be at times) will do things radical if they believe strongly enough it. Talk to anybody who volunteers in youth programs and odds are they are doing that because a youth minister influenced their lives to do radical things. Hearing a student change their lives radically and lead others is like crack sent from the Holy Spirit. It is addicting. See it once, and you want more.
- Youth Ministry is sexy because teens have been neglected. My generation is very concerned about justice and for too long teenagers have been neglected and shoved away at the interests of ourselves. Greg Stier wrote this in an excellent blog post entitled, “Why you should focus on teenagers“: “God loves to use the unlikely and underestimated to do the unimaginable. There are no more ‘un ones’ than teenagers. And God wants to use them, not later, but now to advance his kingdom.”
So why do you think Youth Ministry is so sexy? What is it? Why are so many people flocking to youth ministry positions and youth ministry majors at Christian colleges and seminaries?
In the posts to follow I hope to flesh out more of the sexiness of youth ministry. I want to talk about some areas where we can use the attractiveness of ministry to help the overall church and also some cautions when it comes to this discussion and some bad things I have seen because of youth ministry being sexy. Please share your thoughts.