Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk on the power of ‘why’ has had some 42 million views to date (yes you read that correctly – 42 M.I.L.L.I.O.N).
(If you missed it, feel free to spend 18 minutes of your day here: https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en#t-46787
What is about this seemingly simple topic that generated such interest?
Perhaps it’s the desire for businesses to stand out or to expand?
Perhaps it’s because it connects with humanities’ deeper longing for meaning and purpose?
Or perhaps it’s simply the power of branding, advertising and what the internet is able to facilitate?
No matter the answer (or answers for that matter), it is certainly resonating with a tremendous number of people whose world views, vocations, interests, and contexts presumably differ greatly.
So why youth and children’s ministry? Why spend the time, energy, and dollars studying young people?
Sinek explores the concept of ‘the why’ in his short video as being ones cause, purpose or belief and asks the question “Why do you get out of bed in the morning?”
So the study of youth or children’s ministry is then based on what we believe, what we are called to, and our vision of the future.
The Apostle Paul puts it this way: “…pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:3-6 NIV
Paul seeks opportunities to speak about the Good News of Jesus. Yes, but he also desires wisdom and knowledge so that he might be effective in his ministry.
Sinek would say that Paul’s cause is the Gospel, his purpose is proclamation, and his belief is in the power of God to change lives (or something along those lines).
For me, I believe young people need to come to faith in Jesus today because that’s the greatest life there is. I believe that the church will die if young people don’t come to faith. And I believe the world will be significantly worse off without the church.
That’s my ‘why’.
So again, why study youth and children’s ministry?
Because the study of youth and children’s ministry affirms our belief that God wants young people to know Him and for His church to grow - and it equips us to be more effective in our approach.
Young people today are growing up in a completely different world to the one in which their parents did - let alone the one that youth and children’s patrons grew up in.
Young people today have access to information, experiences and people like never before.
At the click of a few buttons, or should that be a few swipes of a screen, a young person can watch, listen, read, create, connect, download, discuss, evaluate, embrace, and reject anything.
They can access content from anywhere and be influenced by anyone.
Their awareness and understanding of religion, faith, church, and God is more informed than ever before – and yet local churches still struggle by and large to engage with the next generation.
Young people are asking questions, deep questions about values, well-being, purpose, fulfilment, meaningful connections, and making a difference.
So why youth and children’s ministry?
If you believe that God wants young people to know Him, that Gospel is powerful to change lives and that He has called you to joint with Him in His mission, you need to be equipped for the task.
An expert builder doesn’t wake up one morning and decide to build a house. No, they undertake an apprenticeship - learning from others with more knowledge and experience, gleaning insights and wisdom in order to make a lasting impact in their field.
Study youth and children’s ministry and be reminded of who God is, His heart for His creation, the power of the Gospel, and how to have lasting impact on the lives of the next generations.
Study youth and children’s ministry so that young people come to faith, the church might grow, and the world be a better place.