Twenty Things Austin Has Learned As Youth Minister

  1. I have no other message for the students other than the Gospel. I have no other source for my ministry apart from the Bible. I’m not clever enough to teach other things.
  2. The youth need meat; not milk. Sappy, limp-wristed moralism won’t help when the winds of suffering blow across their lives.
  3. There’s nothing wrong with using appropriate humor when teaching. My favorite part of the lessons is when we create imaginative and far-fetched illustrations of a biblical truth. They remember them better.
  4. “Do as I say and not as I do” is hollow, helpless, and hypocritical. Good teaching needs to be clothed with good living. The younger generation values authenticity.
  5. Youth don’t learn to serve others by talking about it. They learn to serve by seeing and doing it.
  6. Youth have a right to know about the great evils of the world: abortion, war, starvation, etc. There’s really a problem of evil out there and I cannot hide them from it. It would backfire if I tried.
  7. Questions are not to be shunned but discussed at length. An atmosphere where questions are present is not the same as a questioning atmosphere.
  8. Having fun isn’t opposed to the faith that was once delivered to all the saints.
  9. The students are just as much of an important part of the Church as the adults or the elders. As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
  10. Youth ministers who coddle their youth ought to be fired.
  11. I’m more worried about evil passions rather than the problem of evil in ship-wrecking the faith of my students. In his day, Paul said the god of many men was their stomachs (Phil. 3:19). Personally, I think it has moved a little South in our day.
  12. Most youth conferences and music are bunk. They’re overpriced, theologically weak and not worth the time.
  13. Bringing youth on errands is a perfect avenue for discipleship. They need to see my life to imitate it.
  14. Every youth room needs at least one musty old couch. It is character building.
  15. My role isn’t opposed to that of their parents. We are on the same team. My responsibility is to come alongside parents as they shepherd their children in the admonition of the Lord. I’m not the daddy. I’m a mentor and shepherd.
  16. Maps and charts are indispensible in teaching students. Sometimes it just helps to see where that unreached people group lives before we pray for them.
  17. A pastor needs to utilize social media. The youth live on it.
  18. My goal is to teach the youth how to think and not just what to think. I’m proud when they can spot a logical fallacy on CNN.
  19. The moment I become condescending to the youth is the moment I’ve ceased to be a good teacher. Bad ideas should be mocked; people shouldn’t.
  20. Theology is always practical. Theology isn’t anymore dry than ignorance is juicy. Everyone is a theologian. God desires good ones.