Youth ministry has evolved over the years in so many different ways. We have developed different methodologies and philosophies, seen different organizations emerge, and created different specialty focus areas. One of those specialty areas that has emerged over the lasts 20 years is the area of global youth ministry. In 1992 Randy Smith, founder of Youth Ministry International (http://ymionline.com/), presented the youth ministry and missions world with the statistic that 98% of trained youth workers are serving in the United States with less than 4% of the world’s youth. That information motivated me to begin a journey in 1996 that led my family and I to do youth ministry in Chile for ten years and to form YouthHOPE (http://www.youthhope.com), the organization that I currently lead. We have made some incredible strides in the area of global youth ministry. I personally witnessed the growth of youth ministry in Latin America where tens of thousands of youth workers have been trained in the last decade through the efforts of Lucas Leys and Especialidades Juveniles (http://especialidadesjuveniles.com/index.asp). There are other great organizations doing youth ministry training around the world like Global Youth Ministry Network (http://global-youth.com/main). Last year, Youth Specialties published the first book on this specialty area, Terry Linhart and Dave Livermore’s book Global Youth Ministry.
So what now? Why should you care? There is a challenge in front of us. I believe that it could also be looked at as an incredible opportunity. In a recent article, World Magazine interviewed Eric Larsen and Jonathan Taylor from Global Youth and Family Ministries. They presented a new way of looking at what they call “the largest unreached people group in human history, larger than the 100 largest geographically defined unreached people groups combined.” Using the term 10/30 Window to describe the world’s youth (you may have heard of missions term 10/40 Window used to geographically describe the least evangelized part of the world), their desire is to create awareness for and involvement in global youth ministry. I couldn’t agree more with Larson as he pleads with the church, “We are calling on an entire adult population to turn its hearts to the young.” There is no more strategic missional opportunity in front of us than global youth ministry.
Snapshot of the World’s Youth:
• 2.4 billion between 10 and 30 years old (United Nations)
• 85% live in developing countries
• 25% live in extreme poverty (less than $1/day)
• 60% live in Asia where less than 10% are Christians
What can you do as a youth worker?
• Pray for the 10/30 Window (see my friend Dennis’ blog where he describes what he does)
• Go on a short-term project to train youth workers with a global youth ministry organization.
• Support a global youth worker or global youth ministry project.
• Quit your day job and go do youth ministry internationally.