Dollar.jpgThis post, by Chris Folmsbee about Youth Ministry and the Challenging Economy, is suggestive and we’d love to generate a conversation about his suggestions and questions. Chris sent me this post last week and, because of our travel to the DC area, I couldn’t get it posted… so here it is … there are some big questions here…

 Last week I took a call from a youth pastor in the greater
Portland area who, for lack of a better word, was very frustrated with
his church’s decision to cut one of his fellow youth pastors from a
full-time position to a quarter-time position.  Although frustrated
this particular youth worker accepted the reason for the staff cut –
economic challenges.

A second youth worker emailed me and told me that her youth budget was
cut in half for her summer ministry and said that in the 14 years she
as been a full-time youth worker she’s never had a more paired back
summer programming schedule.

A youth worker here in the greater Kansas City area emailed me to see if I knew of any good fundraisers that didn’t require a ton of time.  Not because this youth worker didn’t want to make and take the time – he just can’t take the time… he’s recently had to get a second job in order to offset the fact that his wife lost her job.
Still, another youth worker here in Kansas City said that they have about 18 students who wanted to go to camp this summer.  The church usually subsidizes the cost of camp for any student that wants to go but this year cannot afford to do so.  For the first time in over a decade this church has had to tell students ‘we can’t send you to camp this year.’

Are the economic challenges that so many are facing in our country hitting your church and community?  If so, how is it changing the way that you are doing youth ministry?

Some of the youth workers I speak with see this time of economic uncertainty as an opportunity – a time to purge and get lean in favor of a more simple and streamlined approach to youth ministry.  Is this you?  Do you see this time as an opportunity to purge our youth ministries, cutting away the fat?  Are you having to get back to “what really matters?”

One of the youth workers I know in New York State was let go by his church for financial reasons and was fortunate enough to get a job working for the state highway department.  The amazing thing (even more than finding a job in his towns skyrocketing unemployment rate) is that this youth worker decided to volunteer all of his free time and has kept leading the very same youth ministry!  If youth ministry were an unpaid profession, would you do it?
I mean, I know that many of you are volunteers and serve youth and their families without pay.  However, for those of you who are professional youth workers, if youth ministry were an unpaid profession, would you still be giving your time (or a portion of it, anyway) to youth ministry?

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