30 January 2012 — 8 Comments

Back in November, I wrote a post titled ‘Motives for Youth Ministry‘ where I asked Christians working with young people to explain why they did it. I had some great responses in the comments, but I’m now looking to develop that research with a simple survey.

I’m writing a chapter for an upcoming Youth & Policy publication on the theme of Christian youth work and want to ask a very simple question of Christian youth workers (of which I am one). It doesn’t matter what sort of setting you work in, whether you are paid or voluntary. All I would like to know is:

What is your primary reason for working with young people?

To make things interesting, I’m only giving you two possible answers;

  • to do something positive for others/serve/love others/make a difference/etc. (social action), or
  • to tell people about Jesus (evangelism).

I know this is very simplistic and people have a whole host of reasons for doing youth work, but go with me on this. Many people will also say it’s about both sharing the Good News and doing good for others, but I want to push you to pick one or the other based on your personal motivation!

If you really disagree with this either/or question, then please leave a comment explaining why. Your thoughts would be helpful.

So here’s the poll:

Thanks for your help!


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I am a qualified youth worker, writer and consultant based in Littlehampton, UK. I've worked in the voluntary youth sector for over 12 years, am married to Kirsty and we have two daughters named Hope and Eloise. Check out 'Journeying Together: Growing Youth Work and Youth Workers in Local Communities' and read my opening chapter.

8 responses to Motivation

  1. I don’t honestly think I can choose one or the other. If I was forced to choose one at gunpoint, I’d probably pick the evangelistic one in all honesty. However, does that mean that all my serving and doing good comes at a price or with a hidden agenda? I don’t think so. I’m happy to serve all youth regardless of whether they make a commitment to Christ or not. But I do hope they come to follow Jesus as well, and I make no bones about that. So I’ll probably not choose one on the poll. Dozens of teens I work with will probably never hear me talk about God. Why? They’re not interested in religion. So I’m going to go there with them unless they want me to do so. If I can help them through a vulnerable time in their lives regardless of me altering their theological persuasion, then I will do that. But what motivates me both internally and externally is the sense that God has called me to share love to all. The more I type the more I see that there is a clear answer to the poll question–ha! But I still won’t choose the button because in some way I feel it is a false dichotomy. You and I have had discussions about this in person so I know you understand (at least to a degree) where I am coming from on this. I hope this commentary is helpful to your research even though I haven’t chosen a button to press. Speak to you soon!

    • I did press the button social action. I agree with Loyd that I do not agree with the view that my work in the community comes with a price. Yes, if the young person wants to talk about faith then I will. I do make sure there are places and spaces where it is clear I am a christian and where I invite those who want to know more about faith. But the rest is all about relationship and serving the young person where they are – not where I want them to be.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Dan Crouch (@DanCrouch) - 30 January 2012

    RT @bobweasel: Motivation

  2. (@gemmadunning) (@gemmadunning) - 30 January 2012

    RT @bobweasel: Calling all #christian youth workers. Please answer my 1 question survey on your motivation. Please RT!

  3. Tony Taylor (@indefenceyw) - 30 January 2012

    RT @bobweasel: Calling all #christian youth workers. Please answer my 1 question survey on your motivation. Please RT!

  4. Jenni Osborn (@JHOsborn) - 30 January 2012

    Just 1 question with multiple choice answer – what could be easier?? Motivation | via @bobweasel

  5. (@bobweasel) (@bobweasel) - 31 January 2012

    Hey @youthworkmag @youthworkconf @youthworksummit! Can you RT my 1-question survey for Christian youth workers?

  6. Bee Motivated (@beemotivated) - 2 February 2012

    Motivation | Related Posts :Sticky Faith Motives for Youth Ministry Youth Leaders Academy F…

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