In a recent Q&A with Youthwork Magazine Mike Pilavachi has some challenging things to say about the current state of youth ministry:
JC: What shifts have you noticed among youth workers over the last 25 years?
MP: Generally, the quality of youth workers has gone down dramatically. I love the Anglican Church but lots of our best youth leaders are now getting ordained and I begged the Archbishop – I went and saw him, and asked: “Please could you establish a diaconate for youth leaders?” We’ve just got to raise the profile of that, otherwise it’s like you do youth work for three years until you’ve practiced with the little people and then you do the proper ministry. We’ve got to break that.
Honestly, loads of youth leaders don’t even know what they believe. And they’re petrified of looking at certain issues – especially sex and sexuality. The numbers of youth leaders after we did a series of talks on sex and relationships who said: “Thank you for doing that because we can’t talk about it”. Really? I asked this years’ Soul61s, which is our discipleship year – there are 25 of them and they’re the ones that raised £6,000 each to spend ten months with us so they’re pretty committed – I asked them back in January: “How many of you have never talked about sex and sexuality in your youth group?” Half put their hands up. Half!
Do go and read the full Q&A. In his interview with Jamie Cutteridge he talks about his and Andy Croft’s new book Everyday supernatural, the current state of youth ministry and the last quarter-decade of Soul Survivor.