As I’ve said in my last two posts: I loved this book, it’s clear insight and it’s candid view of where we are to go next.
I think one of the constant threads that is going around in not only Youth Ministry, but Ministry as a whole is that you can’t use other people’s programs, ideas and methods and expect what happened there to happen where you are. So know, that this isn’t a book that says: “Hi, I’m Marko and I’ve done YM right…here’s how you can copy me”. Marko simply lays out where Youth Ministry has been, what has worked and what hasn’t. Then Marko takes us to the present times within Youth Ministry and shares the same (what’s working and what’s not). The methods and ways of doing ministry will look different depending on where you are. However, the heart-beat of the needs that are within Youth and their culture will be the same. This book highlights those needs and sends the reader back into YM armed with that knowledge to pave his/her own path with the students God has blessed them with.
With that said, let me wrestle with this book one last time with you on a piece that caught my eye. It comes in Chapter 6 of the book on page 113-116. Marko entitled this portion: “Finally, Don’t Be Driven”.
Here’s what he says: “Teenagers desperately want to experience passion, but they sure aren’t interested in being driven! And youth workers who embrace a Youth Ministry 3.0 mindset and approach will stop being driven by job descriptions, measurements, buildings, time demands and Messiah complexes. Instead, we’ll slow down enough, deconstruct enough to be fully present”. (page 114)
It strikes me that when I worry about how many teens are there on a given night, I get depressed when attendance is low and excited when attendance is high. This is WRONG! I won’t be fully present when I’m depressed about numbers. And honestly, I won’t be fully present when attendance is average. Being passionate is saying: “even if I have one freakin kid show up, I’m going to be fully present and do what God asks me to do!”
This is especially hard for me right now. My job description changed from full time to part time. I had to switch my Youth Group times and the teens aren’t showing up. I’ve allowed it to get me down from time to time. It’s affected my lessons, my games and my attitude. I need to be PASSIONATE, not DRIVEN. Trust me when I say wrestling with this little book isn’t easy. Trying to SHIFT your YM mindset is hard. However, if we are to succeed, it must be done. Does it have to be 100% what Marko says? No. BUT, he’s on to something and if we as Youth Workers don’t see the same train…it won’t be easy to get on it later.
I appreciate the time, effort and wisdom that Marko poured into this book. I truly believe this is only the beginning of this discussion. Shifting will take time and effort. It will take humility and trust. It won’t be answered and done with one book, or with one person. We must (as Marko humbly admits he needs too) collaborate, discuss and work through this together. We must be humble to accept correction and wise to give it. I hope we can all learn from one-another, connect with one-another. Giving no Youth Pastor, or Youth Worker “rock-star” status but being all on the same plain and same page, pushing forward in the name of Jesus so that His name can be Great and students can come to know Jesus as we do!