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Well, if you’re like me, you’ve been anticipating a future full of hover boards, flying cars, and fashions consisting of “space age” outfits that mostly look like tin foil and bubble wrap – ok, maybe not the fashion part. Certainly, if Hollywood’s prediction would ring true, in 3 years youth ministry would not only look rad, but game time would have outrageous potential. I don’t own a youth ministry crystal ball (if such a dichotomy could exist.). So I’ve decided to take a few minutes to give my thoughts on what the future of youth ministry could and I believe should look like, in the generations to come.

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One Big Community – This may not seem like a ground breaking revolutionist idea, but more and more the need for true community is becoming evident. Social media has not only created an avenue for community, but has reflected the inherent need we have for it. Unfortunately, social media doesn’t fulfill the aspect of community that is most important, and that is not only the fellowship we have with each other but with God and His Son, Jesus. As we look into the future of Youth Ministry we should see teenagers who not only understand the need to love one another, but who know what it means to have fellowship with our Heavenly Father and His Son.

Should Include You – We’ve all heard statistics on the short shelf life of Youth Workers in the American church. Honestly I’ve heard anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. I’ve also heard that 78% of all stats read on the internet are falsely believed to be true. Regardless of the numbers that are being used, your students don’t view you as a statistic; they view you as a leader, pastor, mentor, missing parental figure, and confidant. To them the future of youth ministry is inconceivable without you in it. Be sure to picture yourself in it. Obviously there are far too many factors that we have no control over in regards to this. Before you step into your next position, ask yourself if you’re in it for the long haul. A “one and done” is no way to build community. (See previous point!)

The Future… Is in Your Church! Or, again, it should be. If you’re like me if a little kid isn’t mine, they pretty much all look the same, with their snotty noses and germy little hands. (My children never fall into those categories! Ever.) But take a closer look, much like we like to dream and see the potential in our students, chances are your children’s minister is probably dreaming the same dreams about the littles in your church. (Or they’re terrified that you’re going to ruin their little angels.)

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My wife had the brilliant idea to volunteer to teach the 5th and 6th grade VBS class at our church, when they walked in the door a year later there was already a connection, a familiar face – there was already a foundation for community to happen. Make an effort to connect with the children in your church – they will be in your youth group sooner than you think. (Again, see my first point!)

What will the future hold for youth ministry? The church? Time will truly tell. Where do you think we’re headed?

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