YS Blog 2020 | A Year In Review

Tim Balow
December 21st, 2020

1 year. 200+ posts. 2020 presented some tremendous fodder for our blog contributors and inspired us to see something new every single week. Here’s some of our favorites as we close out the chaotic and challenging year that was 2020 with the fabric of what makes the YS Blog so powerful and connective: Youth workers serving youth workers with their best thoughts, ideas, and inspiration to help you do youth work better for students and Jesus.

In no particular order, here’s some of our favorites from the year:

Dear Students, We Were Wrong About Youth Ministry

We were wrong about what we thought youth ministry was going to be like, and what you actually wanted and needed. We were wrong about not praying with you and for you more. We stopped seeking God and began seeking validation. We began to compare ourselves with other ministries and did not see the value in the youth ministry we have. We assumed a lot. We assumed what you knew about God and the Bible.

4 Ways To Recovery From Toxic Leadership

Over the years I’ve sat down with and coached many youth leaders facing difficult times in their ministry—often from the frustration of unclear expectations, the pain of serving a leader that bullies, or the disappointment of being caught up in church politics. For many, this toxicity didn’t suddenly one day. Rather, it was a gradual buildup, and they felt its symptoms long before they identified its cause.

The Trends Of A Pandemic | A Culture Journal For Youth Workers

We all could provide our own insight into the cultural underpinnings as we watched and led our communities through a very unique time period. After watching hours of news, following comments on social media, reading world class journalism on the pandemic, and executing major actions on behalf of my job and protecting my family, there’s been some specific culture trends that have risen to the surface during the pandemic.

Youth Workers, We Need To Talk About Anxiety

A wave. Quicksand. Prison. A rollercoaster. Google the words “Anxiety is like,” and you’ll be shocked by the number of comparisons and descriptions you’ll find. You’ll find memes, poetry, artwork, and music—pleas for help, or at least understanding, seeping out of every pore of today’s anxious generation.

6 Theology Lanes For Youth Workers In 2020

Youth workers don’t have “A” lane. We have many. We need to know how to speak with teens, families, and stakeholder committees. We advocate in our churches and communities for adolescents in a thousand different ways. Consequently, this weaponized phrase begins off base.

As people who love Jesus and love teens we get to live, practice, and teach theology with our students. However you think of youth work, this is a big part of what you are doing.

Moving From “Stay Woke” To “Pray Woke”

If the young people in your youth ministry are like the ones I serve, then they have an opinion about issues that have prompted protest in their community and throughout the world. 

If the young people in your youth ministry are like the ones I serve, they feel like the Church should do something to speak to and confront the injustice in their community and throughout the world. 

If the young people in your ministry are like the ones I serve, then some have already participated in social and community activities, with or without you.

Four 2020 Trends On Gen Z Mental Health

It is not surprising for anybody reading this that Covid-19 has negatively affected the mental and emotional health of people across the world. The students in our ministries are hurting in very significant ways.

In a report released last October by the American Psychological Association, 91% of Generation Z reported that they have experienced at least one physical or emotional symptom due to stress. Significant causes of stress reported through this report included the fear of mass shootings (75%), sexual assault (53%), and bullying (35%).

We had a great year for the YS Blog! We look forward to posting and sharing more life-giving content and ideas for youth workers in 2021! Close the book on 2020 and welcome the new decade with all the excitement being a youth worker in the 21st century can bring!

Tim Balow

Youth Specialties exists to elevate the role of youth ministry and the youth worker to grow the faith of the next generation.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.