I just stumbled upon a thoughtful post at Tom Mulhern's blog Emergent Journey. Tom begins by suggesting what an "odd thing" youth ministry is and then shares his thoughts on how he intends to shift his ministry with youth this year to be more outreach focused:
This year to overcome the oddness and uncomfortable trappings of traditional youth ministry I have tried to steer the focus of our youth ministry towards more of an outreach and social justice focused group. We are still doing the conventional components of youth ministry (teaching about Jesus and stupid silly games) but we are also trying to become a community of youth and young adults that reaches out past our church doors. This is a shift for both our church and my own thinking.
This is the sort of "rethinking" of youth ministry that is encouraging -- moving away from a focus on entertainment to creating opportunities for youth to live their faith in meaningful ways that echo Jesus' own actions of compassion and justice. Read more here.