An article from Forbe’s magazine reports on recent hardships that our students are facing. We’re all aware that it’s a tough job market right now but what’s even more disparaging is the conflict that our students are experiencing with the dying and empty promises of a college education.

Even with adjusted, or lowered, expectations, millions of Millennial college graduates find their only opportunities are for positions where $10 an hour is aiming high, benefits are non-existent, and a paid vacation is a laughable concept. – Forbes

More and more companies are laying off full time positions in exchange for contract labor to absorb economic downturn. Our students are realizing that going to college and racking up debt in exchange for a degree is no promise whatsoever for either marketability, hiring, or financial freedom. This is not the overflow of whiny entitled lazy college kids but a real problem with real depressing and harsh realities.

College students who have worked hard, built a portfolio of experience, and credentials are being offered no where even near what their parents were offered on a percentage basis when they left school.

On a larger scale, a brief rundown of Craigslist job postings in any U.S. city illuminates this new reality. Whether the position is under business, marketing, or technology, employers require 4-year degrees, pay minimally (typically $10-$12 hour), or pay solely on commission. The so-called “traditional” job opening consisting of an annual salary and full benefits is extremely rare. It’s incomprehensible to think of employers offering anything beyond the bare-bone basics, such as relocation pay, bonuses, or 401K plans. – Forbes

Parents of high school students in Detroit were outraged to discover that their school partnered with Wal Mart to teach students about working at Wal Mart learning everything from applying to developing a career at Wal Mart. The thought that their child was being encouraged or equipped to shoot lower than college was unacceptable.

So how should Youth Ministry respond?

Our job is to share Christ and create environments where students can move toward Christ in their life. Part of being like Christ and pursuing him is understanding that the church is called to be Christ to each other and the world by breaking bread, being on mission, and caring for each other’s needs. Although we know that our job does not define who we are our job does however supply a part of our capacity to give and care for the world and each other.

If your ministry does not have a life skills component to it, maybe it should. Graduating from a youth program where students have come to be known, cared for, and loved is a great step. Graduating from a program where you’re prepared and sent out is even better. I think there are some subjects to cover to help our kids as they step into a world where the education system is eroding, debt is expected, and hope is deferred. Here are a few topic ideas.

Living within your means

Absorbing dissapointment and setback

Generosity outside of giving money

Learning to ask for and accepting help

Creating a plan for self-sufficiency or an exit strategy out of Mom & Dad’s house

Letting go of impulsivity and learning self control

Not defining your value based on possessions or status from possessions

Can you think of others?



  1. Jeff February 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Definitely something to think about. Too often we isolate “spirituality” from the rest of life. Students need to learn a holistic faith that inundates every area of their lives.

  2. T.J. Woodard February 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    one of the best posts on the stash yet. glad to have your voice in my life.

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