Saturday, April 07, 2007

Youth Ministry Information Overload

Over the past few weeks, I've become frustrated with the "talk" in youth ministry circles. Oodles of resources are out there...magazines, books, seminars, and blogs (yes, I know I have a blog. I am reprimanding myself, too!)

I've read several books and articles recently that make claims about teenagers. Apparently, we are in a new "phase" called post-modernism. The problem is, now we are putting teenagers in a box! Not all teens fit into this "model." Not all teens are the same! I can tell, for example, that there is a difference in the teens from Oklahoma and teens from Nebraska.

But the other thing that upsets me is all the TALK about how to minister to teens. We study them, analyze them, poll them, observe them, and make programs designed for them. All this "information" is driving me crazy!! One week someone says we shouldn't create big programs because teens aren't drawn to that anymore. But the next week, I hear from a church that started some program that has tremendous success among teenagers! One week, we should be a service-driven church, and the next we should be purpose-driven!

I dunno, maybe I've been reading from James too much (this is our study for Senior High this quarter) whose main message is "Quit talking about it and DO it!!!!"
I think I've been looking for information, but I have lacked motivation. I want to know, but I don't want to go.

I have been very much challenged this year to start practicing my faith. One was a lesson from Chris Seidman in which his challenge was for us (as teachers of God's word) to DO IT OURSELVES before teaching it to the church!! "No more canned illustrations from other people!" he cried. "Let's start sharing our OWN stories where God has worked through us!"
I was encouraged by the folks at Crossings Church, who are challenging each other to share their faith!

Knowledge, it seems, can only get us so far. "Faith without action," says James, "is dead."

God, I don't want to have dead faith. Forgive me for talking when I needed to be doing. Father, help me to have living faith! A faith that is backed by action! Help me to overcome the temptation to do "concept youth ministry" instead of the real thing!

Please note: If you blog about doing ministry, this is not written as a slam against you! As I mentioned earlier, I have talked about ministry on this blog also! I hope that we will be encouraged to start sharing stories of God working rather than just ideas and concepts.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Yeah man, I agree. There's a lot of research and studying out there and a lot of it can be helpful in some situations, but none of it should ever detour us from doing ministry the way God lays it on our hearts. We know our kids and our individual context much better than any publishing company ever will. The best they can do is make generalizations.