Understanding: What Makes This Generation Completely Unique
Never in history has there been a more technology-ridden, hyper-connected, entertained generation. So how in the world do we tell them about Jesus?
You can’t keep up! If you try to compete on the “world’s” level, you’re going to loose. Youth group will never be as entertaining as the latest movie, and your personality will never be as enthralling as the next American Idol. I know that’s hard to hear for some of you, but someone had to say it! ;)
So how do you connect?
Be yourself. Students can smell a fake, and if they see you trying to be something you aren’t, they’ll turn away. At the same time, they thrive on authenticity. Confidence in yourself is the name of the game.
Find that unique personality that God put in you, temper it with Christ’s call to love and sacrifice, and live boldly. Ministry is not striving to be who you aren’t, but learning how to use what God has already given you and letting God use you.
Be a friend. Less and less of our students are sticking with the faith through college. When those that do look back at what made a difference in high school, they never talk about the games. They rarely talk about their youth pastor’s messages. But they always talk about the relationships that made an impact on them.
Make a habit of taking time to connect with your teens personally. If you’re not sure how, just start by asking questions and listening. Then prayerfully (and patiently!) watch for that moment of ministry that could impact the rest of their life.
Go deeper. Studies show that teens are hungry for spiritual meat. Don’t be afraid to open up those cans of worms and deliver. Would you rather be known as the “youth group with the grossest games,” or “the youth group that really has answers”?
Three years ago, Nate started Called to Youth Ministry with a desire to equip and support youth pastors. It started after he noticed a trend of people with a passion for students "go it alone" for too long and otherwise burn out, without a friend or mentor to stand by them. Now the ministry hosts online training and networking groups that leaders can join from anywhere in the world. Youth ministers from California to Florida to the UK have already benefited from the coaching, community and prayer support these groups provide.
Two year ago, Nate also started an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) company with a desire to feed his family. Now he enjoys balancing the two and being able to use the business to support his ministry habit.
Nate lives with his beautiful wife, Christa, and rambunctious two-year-old son, Josiah, in Lake Geneva, WI.