Student ministry can be a difficult job, but it’s one of the most vital in a church. Youth pastors are charged with the responsibility of taking teens and walking with them as they (hopefully) develop into mature Christian adults.
Barna recently asked Protestant student ministers about the biggest struggles they faced in the ministry.
What frustrates them the most? Parents not being very serious about their teenager’s faith.
More than the influence of the world or any practical concern, student pastors say parents who don’t care enough is their most significant ministry issue.
Not only do parents show up at the top of the list, they are the source of several frustrations for youth ministers.
Here’s how student pastors ranked their biggest ministry struggles:
- 68 percent say parents not prioritizing their teen’s spiritual growth
- 45 percent say lack of consistent participation
- 33 percent say “undoing” what the world teaches them
- 27 percent say balancing the needs of unchurched teens with growing those who do have a faith
- 22 percent say having to entertain teens to keep them coming back
- 21 percent say parents not aligned with beliefs and practices I am trying to instill
- 16 percent say having the time to really get to know the teens in my ministry
- 12 percent say getting teens to talk about the hard or complex questions about beliefs, worldview, or morality
- 10 percent say not having time to “go deep” on topics that matter
- 9 percent say they have to spend too much time dealing with practical life topics and not enough time talking about foundational beliefs
- 3 percent say being ill-equipped to answer complex questions