In his thoughtful article The Only Foundation for Youth Ministry Josh Cousineau says the following,
Students have many different needs today: acceptance, belonging, discipline, jobs, and so on. But in all cultures in every generation, all students need a true Savior. The students who every week reluctantly attend your church with their parents have one overarching need in their life. They need to see that Jesus is the only foundation on which they can build their hope, joy, and security. Anything else will leave them needing more, looking elsewhere, and suffering loss.
We have bought the lie that if we can simply get students in the door, entertain them, and keep them happy, we will somehow make disciples of the students in our church. So every couple years, at most, we seek new styles, systems, and methods for youth ministry. In a rapidly changing culture we seek cutting-edge games, activities, outings, missions trips, and weekends away to keep the students happy.
But revamping youth ministry to make it more appealing won’t necessarily solve our problem with reaching and keeping students. No, the very foundation needs to change. In Isaiah 28 the prophet uses the picture of Christ as the cornerstone upon which life must be built.
Read the whole article here.