Rural Youth Ministry: Are We Ready for the Next Wave?: Part 2

We need to close the gap between younger and older generations.

In Part 1, I talked about the Jesus Movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s that helped increase the youth ministry movement around the nation. The rural youth ministry that I oversee began as a result of this movement.

In some ways, I believe that we are starting to see a new movement of God happening within the youth, but in looking back at what happened during the last movement, I think we need to prepare for this new wave to avoid creating even more separation between the generations.

As I visit churches in rural communities, one of the things I notice is the lack of teenagers in the Sunday morning worship services. Some of these churches have an active youth group during the week, but without the younger generations engaging in the main worship service, these churches are looking at a major decline in attendance (perhaps even extinction) in the next 10-20 years.

When we look back at what happened during the youth movement in the 1970s, I think we can see the beginning of what we are experiencing in the church today. Teenagers need ministry that is focused on some of the specific issues they face in life, but in the process of creating organized youth ministry, we have separated them from the adult community of the church and they are no longer connected to the church body as a whole.

How did this occur? As I’ve looked into this, I have read commentaries about how this “revival” was unlike other revivals in the past, so some churches rejected it and some even rejected the people it was bringing to their doors. One person told the story of how hippies were coming to the churches straight from their communes along the east coast. They were dirty with long hair and long beards. They didn’t want to …

Continue reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.