I received a great email today from MarketingProfs, a site I get daily marketing tips from considering my job in marketing. Its called ‘The 13 Worst Marketing Mistakes You Can Make”. While reading it I almost choked on my coffee at Mistake 2: ‘They did what?!’

Why am I telling you this, when this blog is all about Digital Christianity? Because it made perfect sense when I applied the logic to Christian youth ministry. Here it is, paraphrased a bit for Jesus’ workers.

 “They did what?!”

Marketing strategy, at its core, is concerned with only one question: How will we win? In this case, how will we make sure Jesus’ message wins over the clutter and noise youth are surrounded by today. And to develop a winning strategy, you need to understand your competition.

Satan.

If the competition does something you haven’t considered, you need to up your game. Surprises happen, but unimagined surprises shouldn’t.

Lets have a look at some of the surprises satan’s thrown up to youth ministry, shall we?

  1. Porn accessible on the cell phone
  2. Sex-ting
  3. Freely available alcohol
  4. New age religion, especially quick fixes that youth can fall for, like witch-craft and charms
  5. Idolising in the form of instant self-celebrity through reality competitions
  6. Separation of Church and state: a growing desire of not just the government, but of people all around who want to keep faith personal and lockedup, so that it doesn’t ‘offend’ people.

Some of this is stuff your ministry is just NOT prepared for. Sure its all good to think about the major elements of a young Christian’s life like love, advice, sexuality, peer-pressure and take the typical approach of the wise mentor, but that simply makes you Lady Galadriel. Remember, Frodo always took advice from Gandalf because he was approachable, while Lady Galadriel was the formidable, scary last-resort.

Is your ministry a Gandalf? A Galadriel? Or has it become a Gollum?

One question: Have you, in your strategy meetings, thought of the worst, out of the box weapons satan could come up with in relation to YOUR community?