Around this time last year, we read a Barna Research piece that indicated that 38% of Pastors have thought about quitting full-time ministry in the past year. So, we thought we would do a similar survey with Youth Leaders and ask the same set of well-being questions. Specifically, we are asking youth leaders that are employed, or previously employed. We were hoping that would be willing to participate in our survey, too. It will only take you 3 minutes!
The Anxious Teen: Ministry with Stressed and Fearful Students, from Brock Morgan and Hallie Scott, is now shipping.
About the book:
Now more than ever, teens are struggling with stress, anxiety, and fear. Between social media, the 24/7 flood of news from around the world, global pandemics, mental health crises, the pressure of getting good grades or attending a specific college, financial stress at home, and existential threats like climate change, it’s no wonder.
Teenagers today are different from teenagers even 10 or 20 years ago. The issues they are facing are complex and wide-ranging. How can youth workers understand them better? What are the best ways to meet anxious teens where they are and help them feel seen, loved, and known—both by our youth ministries and by the God who cares for them so deeply?
Brock Morgan uses his conversational style and trademark humor to approach this topic from the starting point of his own experiences with anxiety and his decades in youth ministry. In these pages he provides context to help us understand today’s anxiety-ridden reality, and teaches skills and practices we can develop in ourselves and our youth to move forward in a lasting, healthy faith.
Brock Morgan With over 30 years of experience in youth ministry, Brock Morgan is a sought-after communicator known for his amazing storytelling and insight into the next generation. He is the associate pastor over youth ministries at The Bridge in Chino, California, and is the author of many highly regarded books, including Youth Ministry 2027. He and his wife, Kelsey, their daughter, Dancin, and their puppy, C.S. Lewis, live in Southern California. You can find out more about him at brockmorgan.com.
Hallie Scott (MA, Azusa Pacific University) is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Brea, California, and an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University. She is the author of Hope Beyond an Empty Cradle.
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!).
Last year, I did a short blog series on helicopter parenting and the effects this has on students. Recently, I came across an article in the Atlantic that suggested a strong link between helicopter parenting and the alcohol problem on college campuses. It was a really interesting read, not in the last place because the real conclusion the author comes to is much deeper than the somewhat sensationalist title suggests.
Do you know what simple thing can have a huge impact when you’re praying for your teens or students, besides actually praying?
It’s to tell them you’re praying for them.
I remember a girl who had stopped coming to our church and to all youth activities. From her Facebook page it was pretty clear she was drifting further and further away from God. I put her on my prayer list and prayed for her regularly. Continue reading Don’t Forget To Tell Your Students This
Not every youth leader is into youth culture. The fact that you do not like The Walking Dead, have no idea who Taylor Swift is, or have never even heard of The Hunger Games does not disqualify you for youth ministry.
One of the key messages I remember from Guyland, a powerful book on male culture, was the importance of the ‘guy code’:
Be a man: guys don’t want to be perceived as weak, effeminate, or gay. Masculinity matters. Showing emotions is a sign of weakness, especially kindness or compassion.
Power is everything: status and power are crucial. They define success. So does winning.
Be aggressive: live life on the edge, take risks, go for it. Don’t care what others think.
These findings are not unique; they are reported in other books and research as well. Yes, gender fluidity is a major topic at the moment and I am sure that in time, it will redefine what we mean by male, female, or even the concept of gender. Right now, the idea of masculinity, however, is still very much defined by this guy code. Continue reading How Are We Defining Masculinity?
One of my readers asked my advice on this situation: he’s a youth leader in a church with a struggling youth ministry. The main reason for the dwindling numbers is a moral failure by the previous youth pastor that led to divisions in the youth group. This new leader wants to revive the youth ministry, but how do you inspire both leaders and youth after a disastrous moral failure by a predecessor?
Obviously, this is a situation no one wants to find him or herself in. The sad reality is that youth pastors fail at times though and that someone has to pick up the pieces. So first of all, I want to applaud this new youth leaders for having the courage and the conviction to step up. It’s far easier to walk away in circumstances like this, so thank you for obeying God’s calling and leading in the midst of this. Continue reading Reviving a Ministry After Moral Failure
This is a question one of the subscribers to my weekly newsletter asked me: how do you choose which students to mentor or disciple? It’s an excellent question, because it can feel like giving preferential treatment to some students over others. Let’s dig into this. Continue reading How to Choose which Students to Mentor
If we want to take bullying seriously, we need to start by being able to recognize it when we see it. When does teasing or calling names become bullying? And according to teens, there’s also a thing called ‘drama’. What is drama exactly and how soes it help us distinguish better between drama and bullying? Continue reading The Difference between Bullying and Drama