a thoughtful summary and critique of ym3.0, part 1

via blog recently posted a thoughtful and extended summary and critique of youth ministry 3.0, including a really cool version of the chart i developed for the book with and additional row (which he unpacks more in the 2nd half of the poast). this half is the summary. up tomorrow, part 2 (the critique).

CHAPTER 1: The Need for Change exhorts us to adjust our thinking.

To be fair, we youth workers are doing what we’ve always done — trying to love teenagers to the best of our abilities and help them experience the love of God. Our hearts are right (for the most part), but — I believe — there are flaws in many of our assumptions and methods. A disconnect.

Some of these flaws exist because we wrongly adopted cultural priorities into our youth ministry thinking. But more often our flaws exist because while our thinking was correct — for its time — the world of teenagers has changed, and we’ve been slow in our response. (25)

CHAPTER 2: Framing Change in Youth Culture offers a very brief overview [1] of the development and evolution of “adolescence” since Granville Stanley Hall published Adolescence in 1904. Here, there are two major pieces. One, “the low-end age marker has changed due to physiology, and the upper-end age marker has changed due to cultural issues.” (31) Two, there are three “tasks” of adolescence, Identity, Autonomy, and Affinity.

My proposal is this: While these three adolescent tasks … have continued to be the defining mud-wrestling pit of the adolescent experience, the prioritization of the three has shifted through various eras of modern youth culture. … And now in this post-millennial era in which we find ourselves, the dominance of youth culture (a shift in which youth culture became the dominant culture of our world) has moved affinity to the top. … This is where youth ministry is failing. We adjusted to the first change in priorities (from identity to autonomy), but we’ve been slow in our response to the second change (from autonomy to affinity). Youth ministries are built on assumptions and values and methods that are outdated for the teenagers we passionately want to serve today. (43)

CHAPTER 3: Youth Ministry 1.0–Post-World War II Through The 1960s
CHAPTER 4: Youth Ministry 2.0–1970s Through The End of the Century
CHAPTER 5: Youth Ministry 3.0–Naming Our Preferred Future

The summation of the thesis for YM3.0 is in these three words: “Contextualization,” (72) “Communional,” (105) and “Present” (77) Below is Marko’s graph with an additional row that I’ve added which I’ll explain below in my critique.

CHAPTER 6: So…How Do We Get There? Perhaps the most cogent and potent chapter.

Contextualized youth ministry doesn’t come from a book or a conference — two things Youth Specialties offers! It comes from discernment. And discernment always involves inquiry, always involves reading and thinking, always involves careful listening, always involves wrestling with questions that might not be answerable, and always involves the Holy Spirit. …

Youth Ministry 3.0 is a shared journey, utilizing a shared discernment process and involving both adults and teenagers. (86)

Do less (95) because “communion necessitates small.” (99) Help Students Experience God (emphasis mine, 100) This requires us to be “slow,” “simple,” “fluid,” and “Jesus-y.” (106-7) Finally, “don’t be driven.” (113f.)

[1] Because of the concision of the book, an “overview” or “summary” is really generous. What is written is more of a select extraction out of the tome of adolescence for the purposes of this chapter.

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