a ym3.0 cohort (seismos, parts 5 and 6)

seismos1a group of 17 youth workers gathered recently for a few days together, wrestling with the ideas in youth ministry 3.0. joel daniel has been posting great summaries of their discussions on his blog. i’ve reposted those here (with props and appreciation to joel daniel) in two post (parts 1 and 2, and parts 3 and 4).

there’s also a nifty little video post (still pics, set to music) of the group and their time. i won’t bother embedding it here, but you can click here to watch it.

here’s part 5, an “appreciative inquiry” around the values and practices of youth ministry 2.0:
What are the positives/priorities that we want to retain from YM 2.0?

-the development of Youth Specialties & a variety of other youth ministry specific organizations

-youth pastors (as a recognized position)

-youth missions going out

-a more professional/intentional view of youth ministry

-discipleship emphasis

-more relationally focused

-development of some structure

-more evaluation

-shift from denominational only use of curriculum/etc, to more exchange of ideas

-some veins of Christian music

-learned how to study youth culture

-development of fun/enjoyment as part of youth church experience

-beginnings of mentoring

-engagement & reflection of culture

-engaged the question “why do we believe what we believe?”

A few thoughts & reflections that occurred during this time as well:

Someone noted that youth ministry did well to learn from the education system and a variety of its practices during this time period. At that time, the educational system had the most current understanding of developmentally appropriate teaching 1176922_67297562and integration of various teaching practices. However, we also observed that we feel that the education system overall has become poorer since then, particularly with its emphasis on standardized testing, etc, and that youth ministry, while perhaps still gleaning some good practices from the established educational system, needs to either find a few model to learn from or boldly blaze the way and become the most well-informed sector of society when it comes to connecting to students. Other potential areas to learn from who are reaching & teaching youth effectively are media/entertainment, advertisers, and social networking & other web 2.0 technology. What are best practices we can glean from these?

“The point in church culture at times seems to be more about information more than relationship. For example, the question is almost always asked by parents “what did you learn?” but that’s not necessarily the point.” This basic idea that was brought up got some push back suggesting that there is always learning…but that it doesn’t have to be an upfront or formal presentation. So how do we engage “subversively”, so that they’re learning without realizing it but that it still influences their life?

and, part 6, where the group identifies the winnowed-down list of questions they want to wrestle with:
We broke up into 3 groups, each armed with the list of questions we had initially raised as well as the conversations that we had already had related to the good parts of YM 1.0 & 2.0. Each group was given the task of bringing back two questions that we would discuss, leaving us six questions total to plow through in the time we had left (we were about halfway through our retreat at this point). The six questions we settled on were as follows (some combined/extrapolated/expanded from the original list):

* What is the heart/foundation of the next wave of youth ministry (YM 3.0)?
* How is the transition we’re feeling in youth ministry a reflection of change going on in the rest of the church (if at all)? Does this correlate at all with Newsweek/blog/etc articles currently circulating? Is the need for change positive, negative, or neutral?
* What are the key pieces of youth ministry that should be shared by all, regardless of cultural shifts, denominational beliefs, or personal ministry giftings/preferences? In other words, what are the dogma (what we all agree on should drive everything), doctrine (things that we disagree on, but believe others should agree with us on) & opinion (areas we know are generally personal preference) of youth ministry practice (not theology).
* Is program really a dirty word? What part does planning/organization/structure/etc play in the next wave of youth ministry?
* How does the age bracket shift in adolescence affect what we do? What parts of the cultural definition of adolescence do we buy into and what parts do we push back on? How are we going to help students navigate adolescence and then leave adolescence at the appropriate time apart from culture but in touch with reality?
* How do we keep/make these priorities that we desire in YM 3.0 without “siloing” (separating/disconnecting) ourselves away from the rest of the church?

We only made it through 4 of these questions and so I’ll post thoughts from our discussion on each question and then close with a final post of resources that we shared with each other at our last meeting.

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