Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Your Thoughts, Please?

I invite you to weigh in on the following issues.

In 1997, the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project began a reform of contemporary ministry practice in North America. After ten years of research and experimentation, the following four discoveries were made:

1. Current approaches to youth ministry neglect the spiritual life of youth ministers, adult volunteers and youth.

2. People long to experience God within their own lives.

3. Communities of transformed adults, living lives of prayer and service, attract and transform the lives of young people.

4. Youth desire to recognize God's presence in their lives and to be empowered to live out their calling.

Based on your experience, how accurate are these findings? What are the implications for churches as we engage the work of youth ministry?

Your thoughts?

- DB

Resource cited:

Yaconelli, Mark. Growing Souls: Experiments in Contemplative Youth Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007.

1 comment:

Court said...

Don't smoke, don't drink, don't curse, and don't have sex before you're married. I feel that's the main message I got from youth group leaders and Bible class teachers as a teenager. Be a good little Christian kid, and all will go well with you. It was quite the eye-opener to realize later that there's more than that to being a disciple of Christ.

(My parents tried to teach me more--but as is so often the case, "church" and peers carried greater weight for several years.)

So as far as #s 2-4 are concerned, I have personal experiences that are in line with those research results.

As for #1....all I know about American approaches to youth ministry is what I've heard youth ministers talk about. But what I've heard also seems to confirm the validity of the research you mentioned. From what I understand, many youth ministers feel "controlled" (dare I say "enslaved?") by the congregations they work for. Youth ministers are expected to take care of all teen spiritual needs, while ministers' own needs and families take a backseat. Many yms are no more than a few years older than their teens and in need of wiser mentors themselves--but no one is available to give such guidance.

I dunno....over all it seems to me that in most churches, the elderships have abdicated their teaching responsibilities. This has resulted in undue spiritual burdens placed on the shoulders of younger generations who are desperate for wise mentoring and without the resources for finding adequate spiritual guidance.