Recent data collected by The Youth Cartel and Jeremiah Project suggests more than four out of ten youth workers are considering moving on, or have moved on in the past two years. This suggests that what Barna’s recent pastor poll showed is likely also true of youth workers: Youth workers are currently in crisis and at risk of burnout.
In November of 2021, Barna research published the results of a Pastor’s Well-Being Survey. Their summary paragraph reads:
Recent data collected from Barna’s pastor poll indicate that U.S. pastors are currently in crisis and at risk of burnout. Notably, in 2021 alone, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of pastors who are thinking about quitting ministry entirely.
Upon seeing these results, Todd Freneaux, Executive Director of Jeremiah Project, contacted Mark Oestreicher of The Youth Cartel with the idea of partnering on a similar study, but of full-time youth workers. Marko had a sense, from his interactions with youth workers, that the levels of burn-out and weariness would be mirrored or even greater among youth workers.
480 people completed the survey (we asked that they were either currently employed full time as a youth worker, or had been at some point in the prior two years). All responses were self-reported.
At this point, it goes without saying that the number of young people in the church is shrinking. Countless studies and books have examined this trend and proffered helpful theories and next steps. But have all of the contributing factors been identified?
Maybe not. In A Faith of Their Own, longtime youth worker Nathan Wheeler looks at an as-yet-unexplored possibility: theology. Wheeler examines what theology we commonly teach in our youth ministries, often by default more than intention, and how that theology can be inadvertently detrimental to the church participation of younger generations.
This helpful and challenging book will guide youth workers to think deeply and explore new strategies, all in the pursuit of helping the young people in our ministries grow a compelling, challenging, and robust faith they’ll choose to engage with throughout their entire lives.
Order today and save with our pre-release special. (Offer ends Jan 19, 2022)
A Faith of Their Own: A Theological Field Guide for Youth Ministry
By: Nathan Wheeler
At this point it goes without saying that the number of young people in the church is shrinking. Countless studies and books have examined this trend and proffered helpful theories and next steps. But have all of the contributing factors been identified?
Maybe not. In A Faith of Their Own, longtime youth worker Nathan Wheeler looks at an as-yet-unexplor…
Now in year five, The National Youth Pastor Compensation Survey has had well over 5,000 respondents over its lifetime. The survey is brought to you by Chemistry Staffing, in association with The Youth Cartel and ChurchSalary.com.
This year, we had 775 respondents, with 680 of them self-classifying as full-time. For our purposes, full-time is defined as being regularly scheduled for 30 hours or more per week.
At The Youth Cartel we are so thankful for each and every one of you who serve students. It might be your full-time job or you may serve as a volunteer, but we know teenagers are being shown the love of Jesus because of you.
We have a special Christmas gift just for you. You can download one of our favorite resources for FREE – Every Picture Tells a Story (a $25 value).
We are super excited about these new products from our friends at YouthScape. They have been innovating youth ministry in the UK for over 25 years and we are so happy to be their exclusive partner to make these available in the United States. These resources can help challenge your students to grow in the faith while becoming stronger as a group.
We have had this sense that a way larger than normal quantity of paid youth workers are:
Losing their jobs
Deciding it’s time to step out of vocational ministry
Thinking about stepping out of vocational ministry
And with the new data that came out from Barna reporting a huge spike in all pastors considering a move out of vocational ministry, we thought it might be helpful to take the pulse of our tribe. Our friend Todd Freneaux of The Jeremiah Project actually suggested this survey, and we immediately felt it could be helpful.
If you’re a paid youth worker (or have been at any time in the last two years), we’re asking you to take three minutes (really, it will not take long) and click-through two links:
Then, if you’d like, click here to separately give us your name and email address (separately, so no one can connect your survey responses with your name or email), and we’ll send you a free copy of the results in January.
The survey will close on December 15 (but don’t put it off!).
It’s no secret that The Youth Cartel is a big fan of Praying Pelican Missions. There are plenty of wonderful organizations out there who can help you with your short-term mission trips. But PPM, in our opinion, stands apart. Their commitment to developing long-term relationships with local, indigenous church leaders, and serving under their leadership is unique, and helps avoid many of the problems that can be created when short-term missions is more…well…drive-by colonialism.
For 2022, we’re partnering again with PPM for two specific weeks. On those two weeks, Mark Oestreicher will be present, both to make sure your experience is the best, and to speak to your teenagers in the evening. We thought long and hard about locations for 2022, and have chosen two we’re pretty excited about: Abaco, Bahamas, and Kauai, Hawaii. To be clear, we did not choose these locations for their ‘exotic’ nature: we chose them based on needs.
Abaco is a lesser-visited island in The Bahamas, but one with dramatic needs, particularly in the wake of a horrible hurricane in 2019. We’ll partner with local church for a variety of wonderful ministry.
Then, while Kauai is certainly a beautiful location, the needs of the people who live there year ’round can be profound. We’ll be partnering with a wonderful church that has been active for years in serving their community.
Is youth ministry thriving? Stagnant? Evolving? Dying? What does any of that mean for us as youth workers, or, more critically, for the young people we care about?
In this edition of our “multi-views” series, the chapters are authored by a group of youth ministry thought leaders. We asked them two key questions: What are the problems youth ministry currently faces? And what is the pathway forward? Each chapter represents a thoughtful, practical, and challenging viewpoint. At the end of each chapter, there is a sidebar from an in-the-trenches youth worker whose ministry is currently living out the future the chapter’s writer foresees.
We expect that the words of this book will cause you to rethink, to dream, and to question. There are no easy answers and one-size-fits-all solutions here. But we also believe that along with the challenges they bring to the forefront, these chapters will leave you with a sense of hope-filled possibility the future of youth ministry and the teenagers God calls us to love and care for.