Monday, November 18, 2013

"Only 18 months" is Bullshit

If you hear something repeated often enough it can morph into a fact.
This is the whole idea of the TV show hosted by magicians Penn & Teller.

And this duo need to resurrect the show in order to debunk one final lie...

Everywhere you read and go, given enough time in the world of youth ministry, someone will inevitably mention the "statistic" that the average youth minister will stay at a church for 18 months.

I've written here, here and here that longevity matters. So, if the "18 month stat" is factual, then it's doing tremendous damage to the effectiveness of youth ministry.

The only trouble?

The "fact" is bullshit.
And I'm sick of hearing it.

Yeah, I went there.

The reason I say so isn't because I've done extensive research. I haven't. I can't even find any solid numbers (but I'm comfortable with the actual number being around the 4 year mark).
I'm not even going to dispute the reality that a sizable chunk of those in youth ministry don't round out their second year.

Someone must be honest enough to draw back the curtain on the "fact" which is the foundation of this myth.

The "stat of 18 months" is only factual if everyone included
a) is full-time and
b) sees youth ministry as their long-term profession.

It's wrong to place a full-time youth minister in the same boat as someone working a 15-hour-a-week position (trust me, I've done both) and unrealistic to assume they will be in a church for the same length of time.

Furthermore, it's dishonest to lump those who view youth ministry as profession, trained or being trained to do the vocation, with someone who's doing youth ministry whilst undertaking a separate, unrelated, degree at university.

The "18 month stat" is a falsehood which should be removed from the youth ministry airwaves. All it does is paint a negative picture of those in youth ministry and falsely give those who've cracked their second year a sense of longevity.

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