Monty Burnham, Westy Egmont, Richard Hagstrom, Gordon MacDonald and Paul Toms (see Forum, Spring issue) discussed the following letter. The response is based on their observations.
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Facing difficult problems is what daily ministry is all about. But, no problem seems quite as baffling to me as the task of sustaining an effective youth ministry. In the different churches I have served, the youth ministry has had more ups and downs than a "pogo-stick."
I've read several books on how to have an effective youth ministry, and have tried through pastoral as well as lay staff to build a sustaining, long-term youth program. Most of the books say good programs start with good leadership. Yet I find that the most willing leaders of youth are quite young themselves, and aren't prepared to deal with the complex problems faced by adolescents. ...1