You've seen the statistics and heard the horror stories.
Many (if not most) teenagers abandon the church after they graduate from high school. The Biblical literacy of Christian teenagers is spiraling downward and the passion for all things worldly skyrocketing upward. Families are more broken. Teenagers are more apathetic. Youth ministry is more difficult.
So don't waste your life doing youth ministry.
There are far too many youth leaders just "doing" youth ministry anyway. They are just doing the latest games, teaching the latest curriculum and engaging in the latest youth ministry fads.
They float from meeting to meeting, podcast to podcast and conversation to conversation without taking the time to look at the startling and stark picture of the actual impact they are making. In the words of Mark Senter III, they're so focused on what they're doing, they're not taking time to look at what is getting done.
...and they're wasting their lives as a result.
Instead choose to be a different breed of youth leader who leads your teenagers toward a different brand of youth ministry, a radical "new" paradigm of youth ministry (that's actually 2,000 years old!)
Your teenagers are waiting for you to stop wasting your life and their time. They're tired of just playing games, singing songs, going to camp and hearing another lesson on self-image, sex or media choices.
They want to be a part of a God-breathed revolution.
They want to live out a cause that will change their peers and impact their world.
This radical revolution is the very cause of Christ to "seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10) and to "make disciples" who make disciples (Matthew 28:19.)
Depict this mission as an epic battle between the forces of God and the armies of darkness for the souls of their peers (because it is!)
Describe it as the ultimate cure to every ill their friends face and every sin their classmates chase (because it is!)
Deploy them like a coach deploys a team to win a game against seemingly impossible odds (because you are!)
Start making your ministry about mission, not meetings, about making disciples, not more appointments, about accomplishing a vision, not a task list.
You know you want to.
It's why you got into youth ministry to begin with!
It's the ember that's burning down deep in your heart. It may have cooled a bit over time but it's still there...sizzling...ready to be fanned into flame (2 Timothy 1:6.)
How do you even start to fan it? You pray! Pray for your teenagers! Pray for their lost friends! Pray for their schools! Pray for revival!
And don't stop praying until God brings it!
Your connection with Jesus in prayer will turn this burning ember, first into a bonfire, and then into an inferno that consumes you, your teenagers and your community for Christ!
As you pray start "gospelizing" everyone and everything. Gospelize the people you meet. Gospelize your teenagers. Gospelize every talk and every program. Gospelize your life.
In the Gospels and the book of Acts it's the act of engaging others with the message and mission of Jesus that energizes every passage and every page.