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.



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)


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