While I was at NCCYM last month, a long-time and trusted reader asked if I was ok, questioning my mood regarding what was recently on the blog… This is always challenging. I attempt to place a far amount of postings in a queue to maintain a daily presence. For example, I’m writing this post around noon on the second day of my Christmas vacation, December 18th. Further, I do post a lot of content that refers to other folks’ thoughts (which I endorse enough to re-post, re-purpose.) If I sounded a little negative, I was sharing other voices that were calling for change.
That being all said, be advised that I share Adam McLane’s call for a new identity for youth ministry.
Perhaps we are trying to confirm to what we think kids think about who we are. And that excuses us being “Disorganized. Uncommitted. Unreliable. Unprepared. Unprofessional. Immature. Hot-headed. Last in, first out. One-dimensional. Sloppy.” These are not the characteristics of a linchpin; Adam is right that if we are perceived that way, then we are most certainly disposable.
We need a make-over!
(By the way, there is a lot of discussion occurring about this stuff. Randy Raus recently struck up the same theme, encouraging community involvement, focusing on relationships, and constant passion while Chris Folmsbee discusses and identifies elements of the “enduring renovation” and Paul Martin suggests some divergent paths. AND UPDATED: Greg Stier had these predictions for the new year, while Marko is talking future of youth ministry here and here.)
Adam, however, hopes that we “aspire to a new level of sophistication,” shedding “our whiney exterior and instead identify ourselves as faithful, creative, passionate servants willing to do whatever it takes to reach this generation with the Good News of Jesus Christ.” In the comments to his post, I added that I fear that UNTIL we (who are paid “professional” youth workers) actually envision our ministry as one with ADULTS, and, therefore, demanding that we live up to standards set by adults and not kids; empowering adults to minister on behalf of THEIR own baptismal call and THEIR church to work with THEIR young people (who were never OURS in the first place) we will remain marginalized anyway (and not in a heroic on behalf of God sort of way…)
That’s not meant to be negative, I’m actually feeling quite positive (to reference the 2010 top ten list) that, yes, The Pizza Party is SO Over… that, yes, as a irrationally hopeful breed… you bet that we need to fully focus our efforts and Hack Youth Ministry to avoid The Pigeon Hole Effect and risk disposability. If we remain static over the next decade, we are dead and deserve to be dead. (If that’s a little moody, sorry, just keeping it real.) If we grow and change youth ministry, we will be nothing less than transformative in the Church. That’s a lot of thought, what are you thinking…?