First Third Conversations

The Dangers of the EYM: Fad, Fiction, or Future? by Jerry Watts

I was talking to a friend this week who wondered if all the hype about Exemplary Youth Ministry wasn't just that.

He was not discounting all the good stuff we’ve been blogging about but he did wonder if we were just moving on to the next new thing, the latest fad, the buzz in youth ministry these days. He wondered if we remembered that discipleship based on faith markers or what the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit has already been around for a long time. He’s got a good point.

And that is just the point. The Exemplary Youth Ministry study found that these 121 congregations had been able to either create a youth ministry of discipleship or to use programs that focus ministry entirely on discipleship. So much of youth ministry in the last thirty years has been developed around attraction, rather than fruit.

In our weakness we might even use the EYM study as an excuse for why our ministries are failing instead of a measuring stick to help us be transformed. If we regulate the Exemplary Youth Ministry study to the latest trend in ministry then we forget the power of the Spirit who forms faith and the Scriptures which give us our ultimate list or markers to be accountable to. 

That's really not new at all, is it?

Jerry Watts serves as a youth minister in Plano Tx. He's been at it for about 17 years, depending on what you count. You can catch him blogging about all things youth ministry at

previous main next