Youth Ministry and Congregational Health

During a presentation of developmental and spiritual assets in youth ministry, the presenter said that “You cannot have healthy youth ministry without a healthy congregation.”

It was one of those statements that I immediately took exception to. I’ve done healthy youth ministry in churches that weren’t particularly healthy. Most of us who have spent any time in youth ministry have done so in the context of a dysfunctional congregation. We’ve known the senior pastor who expected quality ministry (usually translated as lots of kids) without congregational health or connection. How many churches, after all, section youth off to their own wing of the building, if not build them their own building?

Here’s another way to put it: the healthier the congregation, the healthier the youth ministry can become. We youth ministers all realize, don’t we, that our efforts and work are limited in many ways by the health, support, and involvement of the congregation.

Do you think the health of youth ministry is dependent upon the health of the congregation?

5 thoughts on “Youth Ministry and Congregational Health

  1. Steve I think that you and all of the youth delegates agreed firmly with this statement last year at AC when we stood up for the congregational effectiveness doccument.

  2. I think it more likely that the LONG TERM health of youth ministry depends on the health of the congregation – and vice versa. Just as in any body, the health of one part impacts the health of the whole (and vice versa).

  3. What an ignorant statement! That is like saying you can’t have a healthy church in a pagan land. In some churches the youth group is the ONLY healthy ministry! In fact, I think it is a trend. The growing youth groups are struggling to survive in a non-welcoming, nearly broke, graying membership that never learned to invite a friend to church!

  4. just as it ISN’T impossible to have a healthy youth ministry in an unhealthy congregation, it’s equally possible to have a healthy congregation with an unhealthy youth ministry.

    i think it all boils down to leadership and focus of your ministry. anything is possible.

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