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My latest idea…

So somewhere during this weekend’s National Youth Workers Convention it struck me: Youth Ministry is in desperate need of a new theological paradigm from which to operate.  As I heard stories from various burned-out over-worked stressed-out “I know I can do it myself” youth workers I realized that the problem was at its core theological.

Don’t get me wrong, its not that these are bad people.  On the contrary, most of the youth workers who were like this that I talked to were like that because they were pouring their lives out for their kids and become frustrated at the seeming lack of results from their efforts.  Honestly, who can blame them?   Here they are doing everything they can think of and still kids aren’t responding to them.  

So the question now becomes… what can be done?  Last year I took Pastoral Care from Andrew Purves and he presented to us a model for ministry that is profoundly Christological (Christ-centered).  The central element is that the role of the pastor is to bear witness to what Jesus Christ is doing for a person or a community.  So, in essence the focus is on pointing the way to Jesus rather than taking the burden upon oneself.  I took that model and as well as I could I applied it to youth ministry in a paper I wrote for my Foundations of Youth Ministry paper.  (While there is much in that paper that needs to be improved the central theological work in the first part is a basic introduction to what I am thinking.)  While I struggle to apply the model in practice, it has gotten easier with time and I now find that using his paradigm to think about ministry is quite freeing.  

This spring Dr. Purves is going to be teaching a new class based on his book including reading the background texts which shaped that book.  So, I am going to take it in hopes that it will continue to help me develop this project more.  While it would be presumptuous to say that I will someday publish a book, it is my hope that whether published or not (the beauty of the internet is that you can self-publish if needed) I can help relate his work which is quite monumental in its own right, to the area of youth ministry.  I also recognize that I really need to get a few more years of experience in full-time ministry under my belt before I’ll have the credibility or experience to write such a book, so I’m not talking about a short term project by any means.  But it’s a plan right now.  

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 23, 2005 at 11:59 pm

    Hi Brian,

    You might want to check out a guy named Mike King of Youthfront in Kansas City. He heads up an organization that for years did big evangelistic rallies and youth camps. He attends an Emergent Congregation called Jacob’s Well. They have been doing some major work processing what it means to do youth ministry in a post-modern context. King’s blog is king.typepad.com/

    Peace!

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