Youth Leaders get Defensive – Come on!

HomerdohI’ve been reading some blogs from people at the NYWC. Unfortunately, there is a ‘buzz” about the NY Times article that I posted last week. Apparently, some of our brothers and sisters are a bit upset about the “culture of fear” that is being promoted in the article. There is obviously some posturing on the part of our fellow youth/student minsitry leaders to stand by their paradigms, programs and philosophies in doing 21st century ministry. The problem is – and I say this in love and respect – most of those who are defensive about this timely and insightful article are dead wrong. It is interesting to me that this article was NOT written by a ministry/church insider. Yes, an insider was “quoted” as source material for the article…but let’s just be honest…these comments are not original and are totally substantiated by current research. Chrsitian Smith’s outrageoulsy provocative book, Soul Searching opened up the curtain and revealed the ugly truth that many youth workers and pastors don’t want to admit – what our youth ministries are producing are Moralistic Therapuetic Deists who have little intention of passionately pursuing Kingdom priorities and who are going not going to be the cultural difference makers that Jesus is calling people to actualize in their lives. I think that instead of circling the wagons, continuing the worship of “celebrity” Christianity…instead of being addicted to consumeristically based ministry paradigms and gathering together just to pat ourselves on the back and say “yeah God” for big youth groups, big youth rooms, big youth ministry budgets, profitable youth ministry resource companies, and to sit at the feet of the “stars”, there needs to be some silence, accountability, listening, and real analysis of our ministry before we finally realize that the future of the Body of Christ in American Christianity is in the hands of students who are focused more on narcisitically motivated, “feel good”, safe religion and not on the priorities of Jesus. OK – so I’m a bit frustrated right now…all I know is that 16%-18% of the students that are in our youth groups today will be “on the track” of the Kingdom by the time they are 25 years of age. That should cause some alarm. Put it this way, if you were manufacturing some product that had a 80% failure rate, you’d be doing some thinking or be out of business. Why is it that the long term results are not shocking the youth ministry world into reexamining its methodologies? Listen youth pastor – just because you have kids hanging out in your youth program does not guarentee that they are going to have anything to do with Jesus or Kingdom living in the future. Are your visions, your paradigms, your mentors, your strategies growing up a generation of difference makers and revolutionaries for the Kingdom of God or are they simply catering to the pressures of Christendom? I’m going to call it quits for now…maybe I’ll blog more on this later.

Peace – Out!

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