RYM 016: Storytime With Marko – The History Of Youth Ministry

It’s no secret that, over time, youth culture has become the dominant culture in our world today. Because of that shift, the way we do youth ministry has also changed. Join ministry leaders for a special episode with Mark Oestreicher, co-founder of The Youth Cartel, as they take an in-depth look at the history of youth ministry, how youth culture has splintered throughout the years, and what that means for our youth ministries today.

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For 113 years, we’ve been telling teenagers how to act, and they’re very good at living into our expectations. (11:00)

We can tell teenagers they have to learn to live in a world that treats them as incompetent and incapable, but we know that they are more than that. (15:00)

If we are going to understand youth culture, we have to understand youth. (17:00)

Adolescence is a period of time in the human lifespan when there is a cognitive capability and a cultural permission to wrestle with identity, autonomy, and affinity. (18:00)

Teenagers are asking themselves: “Who am I? How do my choices matter? Where do I belong?” (19:30)

There has been a splintering of youth culture that means every context is unique. (33:00)

If we don’t have contextualized youth ministries, we are going to drown very quickly. (33:00)

Around the turn of the millennium, youth culture became the dominant culture. (35:00)

Today, there is no longer one monolithic youth culture. Every youth group is multicultural, whether they have racial or economic diversity or not. This changes the practice of youth ministry in major ways. (36:30)

If we are going to be true to our calling to reach today’s teenagers with the love of Jesus, we have to offer unconditional belonging prior to belief. (40:00)

Our best brainstorming will never lead us to as good of a result as figuring out how to tap into God’s dreams for our ministry. (41:00)

The best youth ministries are weird. (42:30)

Unconditional belonging is the dominant need for today’s teenagers. (48:30)





CJ is the Managing Editor for XP3 High School and Social Media Strategist for XP3’s blog and social media platforms. CJ has been leading small groups for middle school and high school students at North Point Community Church for the past 10 years. He also placed 5th in his 8th grade class fun run. CJ and his wife, Teri, live in Alpharetta, GA.



Mark Oestreicher is a partner in The Youth Cartel, providing services and resources for individual youth workers and organizations. Mark has authored a number of books, including A Beautiful Mess: What’s Right About Youth Ministry, Middle School Ministry: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Early Adolescents, and Youth Ministry 3.0: A Manifesto of Where We’ve Been, Where We Are & Where We Need to Go. He’s been married to his wife Jeannie for 30 years, and they have two great kids: Riley (22) and Max (18).



Tom Shefchunas is the Executive Director of Student Strategy at Orange. In this role, he leads the development and strategy for XP3 Middle School and High School curriculum. Previously, Tom was North Point Ministries’ Multi-Campus Director of Transit, their middle school ministry, for 12 years. And before that, he spent 10 years as a high school teacher, coach, and principal. Additionally, he is the co-author of Lead Small with Reggie Joiner. Tom and his wife, Julie, live in Cumming, Georgia, with their three children, Mac, Joey, and Cooper.



Ashley Bohinc serves as the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange, co-host of The Think Orange Podcast, and co-author of The Art of Group Talk. She’s worked with students in public education, athletic, and ministry settings since 2005. Ashley is most passionate about resourcing the local church, communicating onstage, developing leaders, working with students, and engaging in world missions. Additionally, she’s the USA Director of Carry 117. In her downtime, you’ll find her watching Friends, cheering on the Cleveland Cavaliers, traveling, reading, or on one of her Fairytale Friday Adventures.

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Orange Conference 2018