Provocative Read

I’m back in the youth ministry reading mode. You know…new books on the state of things in the biz, professional journals (yep, we’ve got those!), latest trends on web sites…the whole bit.

And, while I’ll formally review Mark Oestreicher’s new book Youth Ministry 3.0 soon–it’s about designing student ministry new ways given the trends/bent of this generation of teenagers written by one of the more cutting-edge pros–I’d like to whet your appetite with this little nugget from page 58…

“The dark side was the creation of the youth group that exists only for itself (which, unfortunately, still all too common). And while the shift to the theme of Creating a Positive Peer Group might sound like an affinity push, this theme was more driven by the priority of autonomy. Youth workers clamored to develop a youth-y churches-within-churches that were loosely attached to, but functionally separate (and autonomous from) the church that housed and funded them.”

In layman’s terms, Mark is reviewing the history of professional student ministry and saying that, for all our desire to create professional youth ministry’s and reach kids, the end result is a place where parents could send their teens to avoid the world/be good kids/surrounded by good kids (which didn’t really happen). Also, the idea of positive entertainment helped create large groups of kids–which justified our existence and made us look successful.

This kept parents happy, which increased budgets, which allowed churches to keep a mindset of “big church” for grownups while the kids did their thing downstairs. Seems win/win, right?

I’m just not sure that model is Biblical…and have many times in this space clamored for the idea of a “convergent” church–one where generations interact meaningfully, which means everybody has to “give up” some of their “sacred cows”–…

It’s nice to know that somebody higher up in the ranks sees, it, too, I guess…

…and I’m sure I’ll be recording more thoughts once I get to see where Mark takes his observations to application…

But, have at this one today, patrons…

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