Tag Archives: emergent

Observations for 2011 Part 2

Yesterday I noted that I had two observations for youth ministry going in to 2011 that I feel are going to be pretty significant. I will restate that I by no means am an expert on these two topics, and again with Yesterday’s, I know that is nothing new, you could easily find a dozen better blog posts written on the subject.

But I think many stop there and just say “So Youth Pastors we need to change,” and I think there could be fault in that thinking. For the last few years, Youth Pastors have been complaining that churches aren’t doing anything to help fix that idea. I think in 2011, churches are going to start, and for many youth pastors it wont be a good thing.

Observation #2 – Churches Looking for New Youth Pastors

You know that old saying ” You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” From what I have observed, it seems churches are taking up this mentality with their Youth Pastors. Though I dont agree with everything in the book, I think the Terminology Mark Ostreicher uses in Youth Ministry 3.0 works. For the past few decades, Youth  Ministry has been operating as Youth Ministry 2.0, and I don’t think anyone would argue that we are moving into Youth Ministry 3.0 (it may not be the same definition as MarkO’s) and in 2011 I think were going to see the notion pick up steam in churches. Can a Youth Pastor who grew up in Youth Ministry 2.0, worked and operated in Youth Ministry 2.0 for so long, effectively make the transition to Youth Ministry 3.0?

In many cases, unfortunately, I don’t think they can manage it effectively. Many YM 2.0 Youth Pastors will make the transition, many will work out, but there will definitely be those who cant keep up with the rest. Regardless of the fact that some can, I don’t see churches out there right now wanting to take that risk. From what I have observed, it seems as though for many older Youth Pastors right now is the perfect storm for them. Churches in this economy are already looking to save money, and lets be honest, churches know they can hire a younger Youth Pastor for a lot less than they are paying their older guy.

I think 2011 will see a lot more goodbyes for Youth Pastors than we would like to admit. To put it bluntly, I see 2011 being the year that Youth Ministry 2.0 BEGINS its major decline into being obsolete.


Observations for 2011 Part 1

I by no means am an expert researcher. I haven’t gone out and polled a thousand churches, a thousand youth pastors, or a thousand students.

I have talked with several Pastor’s and Churches over the last few months, and I interact with students daily. Granted, these students and Leaders are in a specific area known as the North-Midwest, so what I have observed may not be true in your neck of the woods, but these two observations are definitely running in my mind quite a bit the last few months, and I think they could have significant impact’s on the way I do Youth Ministry, and possibly the way others do Ministry as well.

Observation #1 – Students are Longing for more

This is nothing new, I think every Youth Pastor can tell you this. It’s visible from the students who come up to Youth Pastors and tell them “I’d like it if the youth group dug deeper into the bible” but it honestly goes deeper than that. The popular topic at conferences lately has been the failure of Youth Ministry the last few decades, and how shallow it has gotten. I know you can find at least a hundred other, better blogs on this topic, but honestly students are longing for more. It may not always show, and it can easily be mistaken. But I think any research will show you that this generation of students is making a shift from the supposed post-modernism “There is no truth, its all relative” to a more “I just want SOMETHING to be true” attitude. This generation needs adults with convictions, and I think that can often be lacking in Youth Ministries. Simply sugar coating the truth or the gospel isn’t good enough for these students, and it shouldn’t be. This is a problem that goes far beyond simply saying “I don’t do Pizza Party ‘bait-n-switches’ because they are lame” to something much deeper.

What I want to work through is the idea that students can go anywhere to have fun, Fun is not a good enough reason for students to come to church. There is something deeper that students are longing for, and it’s up to us to show them how to find it.

Tomorrow I will talk about how I think this notion is impacting Youth Staff at churches, because if you don’t think it is, your wrong!

Selling out in Ministry

A few weeks ago, I read an old article on reyouthpastor.com, or whatever its called now, by Jeremy Zach in which he described several ways youth pastors can get burned out from ministry. One of the ways that particularly struck home with me was sold out– give up on “the church” and lean to liberal theology to solve all of their problems.

I think part of the reason this has stuck with me these last few weeks is because it seems to be a pretty popular theme among youth pastors around the blogosphere, and among some that I network with. It seems that more often these days, youth pastors burn out and give up on the church, but dont leave.

Recently, a fellow youth worker who worked in my area really began leaning away from the belief’s and theology his church held, so much so to the point that his church fired him. The sad part is is that he made up some completely unrelated excuse to give to his students, and has encouraged them to leave their church to attend his “bible study”.  Without taking away from another post, it boils down to the fact that what he has communicated to me and others who knew him is that the church is not doing its job right, but he knows how to make it better and will do it without the church.

Leaning towards some of the more christian liberal theologies in a season can be very beneficial, and can lead to growth. I think we should all evaluate our ministries/churches with some of the more liberal ideas on occasion. But to give up on church as a whole is a completely different beast. If theres one thing that the Bible makes clear about the church, it is that it is the Bride of Christ. To give up on the bride of Christ is to give up on Christ; I cant still be friends with a guy if I hate his wife.

Its one thing to give up on certain ways of doing church, and another to give up on church to build your own kingdom, which is what I feel a lot of these sold out youth pastors are doing.

It has given me personally a lot of encouragement the last few weeks thinking about selling out from the church, because Honestly I was ready to give up on my current position. But this local church is no different than the next one.

So pastors leaning away from the Bride, take a few weeks to first consider why you are doing so.

Are you leaving the church because you cant stand the church politics or because the church is holding you back from the things you want to do? Pray. Church politics plague every local assembly, and as Mark Devries talks about in “Sustainable Youth Ministry”, they arent always a bad thing. Further, maybe you do have the right ideas/answers. Are you not going to fight to share them? Will you not invest your life into an area God has called you to be because you think you were called there for one purpose, when God clearly has you there for another reason?

What it boils down to is the investment. Are you willing to make sacrifices to see a church become healthier, or will you run at the first few signs of resistance.

In the words of cheesy Youth Pastors from the 90’s, what would Jesus do?


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