Secular sounds like an antiquated word in this day and age, but it’s the only one I could think of to describe the alternative to a faith based, radical youth ministry.

The lure of becoming a secular youth ministry is very appealing. It calls to us. It beckons like a siren to

  • run a program instead of making disciples.
  • keep our head down and do our job.
  • avoid engaging the community we live in with the gospel.
  • put in office hours like everyone else on our block.
  • do what we’re told instead of what is best. Compliance is king.
  • not challenging kids to follow Jesus for fear they will leave.
  • preach behavior modification rather than an all sufficient Savior.
Youth ministry used to be radical, now it’s normal. What separates our youth ministries from the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, or other social relief agencies? Their is nothing wrong with any of the aforemetioned organizations, they’re just not the church. 
I miss Mike Yaconelli. Many times at the end of Youth Specialties he’d encourage us to go back to our churches and “get fired for the glory of God.” Today we’d tell him, “Good idea Mike, but not in this economy.”
Have you felt the lure? The passion drain? The desire for your youth ministry to be liked, respected and above all, normal? Do you have a suggestion on how we can avoid the trap of becoming a secular youth ministry? Tell us about it.

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