How Youth Ministry Can Change the World

I wanted to pass on these quotes from an underrated yet outstanding youth ministry book. Ken Moser’s book Changing the World Through Effective Youth Ministry offers a strong outline for the foundations of a fruitful, Gospel-centered, discipleship-making youth ministry. I recommend this book especially to youth ministers who are in the early stages of their career.

Moser offers a description of the basic functions of ministry:

“Ministry is the act of serving people by bringing them the good news of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The aims of ministry are to disciple and to evangelize. Discipleship = teaching people to live under the Lordship of Christ. Evangelism = bring people into God’s kingdom by teaching and showing them that Jesus is the Savior, and to lead them into a relationship with Him through repentance and faith. The goal is to build strong Christians so they may live for Jesus, shine for Jesus, and tell others about Jesus for the rest of their lives.”

Moser distinguishes between youth ministry as a babysitting service versus youth ministry with a discipleship focus:

“In the babysitting group, you come together to do something: to have a good time. In the group devoted to Christian community and discipleship, you meet together because you are something: a Christian youth group committed to growing in Christ in an environment of Christian love. Hopefully, the whole thing will be enjoyable as well. The other goals, such as meeting social needs, are secondary. If you can develop a group that loves Jesus and enjoys being together, you will find that the desperate search for fun becomes a non-issue.”

Moser discusses a common anxiety in youth ministry related to numbers:

“Many of us suffer under the weight of feeling like we don’t have enough kids in our group. Please realize, though, that the question is always, ‘What are you doing with those who are in your group?’ not ‘How many do you have?’ Many of us think that the bigger the number the better the group. Avoid this trap. A group of sixty to eighty young people may not necessarily be that great. In fact, given your present resources, you may not be even remotely able to deal with a group that size. Furthermore, be careful in envying some of those ‘large groups down the road.’ Sometimes, these groups are built on unhelpful foundations and the building may crumble later. There are certain programming tricks to pull a crowd and I hope I have convinced you to avoid them.”

Ken Moser’s book can be purchased online.

Cameron Cole has been the Director of Youth Ministries for eighteen years at the Church of the Advent, and in January of 2016 his duties expanded to include Children, Youth, and Families. He is the founding chairman of Rooted Ministry, an organization that promotes gospel-centered youth ministry. He is the co-editor of “Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practice Guide” (Crossway, 2016). Cameron is the author of Therefore, I Have Hope: 12 Truths that Comfort, Sustain, and Redeem in Tragedy (Crossway, 2018), which won World Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year (Accessible Theology) and was runner up for The Gospel Coalition’s Book of the Year (First-Time Author). He is also the co-editor of The Jesus I Wish I Knew in High School (New Growth Press) and the author of Heavenward: How Eternity Can Change Your Life on Earth (Crossway, 2024). Cameron is a cum laude graduate of Wake Forest University undergrad, and summa cum laude graduate from Wake Forest with an M.A. in Education. He holds a Masters in Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary.

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