my interview with the amia youth dept

the anglican mission in america has a fledgling youth ministry department, headed by a good guy named chris zoephel. they have a nice website, and conduct a cool interview — normally via skype-recorded podcast — on a monthly basis. this past month, the interview was with me, though i blew it in being skype-ready (i didn’t have a mic for my computer), and they had to do it over the phone with a couple people listening and transcribing the whole thing).

anyhow, chris asked interesting questions, and i gave slightly less interesting answers. you can see the whole interview here.

here’s a taste:
zoephel: With the cultural changes we have seen in the past few decades, what are the keys to reaching this generation?

marko: In some ways things haven’t changed at all and in some ways they’ve changed dramatically. What hasn’t changed is that it’s about caring adults who are willing to be uncomfortable enough to go more than half way to be in a relationship with a teenager. It certainly hasn’t changed in the years of the modern youth ministry movement, and probably has never changed since the beginning of time. Clearly a lot of the methods, approaches and cultural realities that are in play have changed a lot. I wasn’t using text messaging to connect with teens back when I started in youth ministry, and no one—I mean no one—saw text messaging replacing email so quickly as a way to connect with kids a few years back. The world of adolescents has changed a lot also. They’re still dealing with the same primary tasks of autonomy, affinity, and kind of breaking away from their parents and figuring out who they are in relationship to the world. But how that plays out in a world that is saturated in speed and stimulation, and a fairly boundary-less world, has shifted quite a bit in the last twenty years.

2 thoughts on “my interview with the amia youth dept”

  1. Marko, this isn’t a comment about the interview. I am commenting about the recent issue of Risen magazine that you guys had sent to me. I recognize that it is great to develop partnerships in an effort to build the organization, but I don’t get the connection to Risen, and I definitely think it’s a reach to say that this magazine will offer anything worth subscribing for in terms of enhancing my ministry to the kids I work with. The articles, though somewhat entertaining, had almost nothing to do with spirituality of any sort. And the advertising was really suspect, especially the Joker clothing ad. What would Walt Mueller have to say about the example that image would present to young people, girls and guys? I respect YS a lot and that’s why I felt I needed to comment. You guys point us toward a ton of great resources, but for me, this one is a loser.

    Bruce Phillips
    Director of Ministries
    The Fold Family Ministries

  2. bruce — appreciate you connecting with your concerns.

    First, let me tell you why I think it would make sense for a youth worker to read RISEN (and why we promoted it). As a youth worker, I find it helpful to “have a clue” about the cultural icons my kids are into — especially as I constantly find that the world views of those cultural icons are shaping and influencing the students in my group. I’m also a firm believer in “all truth is God’s truth”, whether it’s from the mouth of a world class snowboarder, or from a pastor in a pulpit. So it’s critical to me that I know the worldview, truth and untruth, coming from these cultural icons. For me, RISEN provides that, because their interviews and articles get to that stuff.

    Second, to the ad in question. We hadn’t seen the actual issue that was being mailed out, as it was hot off the presses. As soon as it dropped, the owner of RISEN contacted us saying he was totally embarrassed by that one ad, that it slipped through the cracks, and that it will never happen again. We’re taking him at his word on that. But if we see that kind of ad continuing, we would share your concerns.

    Hope this helps.


Leave a Reply