I recently came across this quote that I read 16 years ago, but I think it still is true today...
"Nothing has contributed as greatly to the pursuit of the Great Commission over the past 300 than youth ministry. The reason is simple: youth ministry is effective. An overwhelming majority of those who enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ do so before they leave their teen years. Couple this well-established fact with this trend: the youthfulness of the world’s population is ever increasing. These factors alone should cause every church and youth group to prioritize and expand their efforts to reach youth with the Good News of Jesus Christ." -- Mike King, Millenial Leap: Launching a Strategic Citywide Youth Ministry Model for the 21st Century
In the past, when I've gotten discouraged about working this students, this quote has encouraged me and I'm thankful I came across it again. For all of us in youth ministry, what we do matters in the plan of God for reaching the world! I'm also grateful that Mark Matlock and Greg Stier have also recently reaffirmed that value of youth ministry to the church and the kingdom of God (see here and here). YOUTH WORKERS, keep going, keep serving, keep teaching, keep loving teenagers and helping them love God!