For those of my readers who are familiar with the typical makeup of a youth ministry program, there's generally a consistent pattern to how each service might go.
You've got your games, you've got your music, and you've got your hip youth pastor (usually wearing holy jeans, and sporting "the youth pastor goatee") who breaks down the bible for a total of about 20 minutes each service. We've certainly fallen into this trap in our ministry (well, maybe not the hip youth pastor part), and don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with any of these elements. If you ask a guest or visitor after they leave one of these services what they would remember the most, it would be "hey we played this awesome game and it was so fun" (if they had a good time).
I haven't had experience with a whole lot of different churches, but in my several years of volunteering this is what I've seen. It may not be as prevelant as it feels, but we want to do better. We want discipleship with the older generation (50 and up, no you're not old, just older okay?), we want in depth study, we want community, we want true worship (we are so getting there already it's amazing to see!)we want the students to take ownership of their faith and their group. We want graduates to go off to college knowing why they believe what they believe. If they've already started actually LIVING out their faith, they can take it with them, and stay in church rather than take a 20 year hiatus once they go off to college (which is the statistic I believe for those that stop going to church). So, how do you make these things the focus of a ministry? Just do it? Right. Got it. It's a bigger process than one would think. The winds of change are a-blowin' and we are at the "fetus" stages so to speak. It's an exciting time. God is working! More to come later.
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