ym3.0 in the words of dave gibbons

dave gibbons’ new book, the monkey and the fish, is a great look at the kind of perspective and leadership we need in the global church today. i’ll post a longer review of it soon.

but there were so many moments, while reading it, that i felt like i was reading a parallel book to youth ministry 3.0. i had that sense (and i told dave this, in an email) that i was driving down a city street and, at the intersections, noticing another vehicle on a parallel streets traveling the same direction and speed.

i’m starting to sense that some of the stuff i wrote about in ym3.0 isn’t merely epochal, but broader and more fluid than that. one of the places i really sensed this was in a little chart gibbons included deep into the book. the sentences leading up to the chart say:

some of us thought it would be a helpful exercise to list the attributes of jesus — especially those that people through the centuries have been so captivated by — and then list what the church at large is known for. here is what came up with:


don’t misread me here: i’m not saying i have it all figured out, or that youth ministry 3.0 is clearly a reflection of everything about jesus. but i so resonated with the words on this chart, and felt they reflected much of the shift i wrote about us needing. not in every case, but in many of the rows, it would be easy to swap out “youth ministry 3.0” for the left column heading and “youth ministry 2.0” for the right column heading.

8 thoughts on “ym3.0 in the words of dave gibbons”

  1. I still have yet to put all the right language together…. But this prompted me to introduce my 3.0 caveat.

    I think 3.0 has a “non-denominational” sensibility to it. Marko, that mindset comes completely from who you are – and that is all blessing and not curse.

    Your above perspective hints toward the same. Our churches need to become more jesus-y.
    I absolutely subscribe to that. Our kids need to understand why we are jesus-y in this manner in our church, no matter if it is Catholic, Baptist, Mormon, or the Second Church of the Light of Christ.

    But, please hear me, I’m a denominational guy. There are many (most?) youth workers that are denominational folks as well.

    I have some sense of Tickle’s ”Great Emergence” and have confidence that my denomination will still be around on the other side… I read YM 3.0 and saw the implications for Catholic Youth Ministry on the other side. We should be transformed (God willing) but still continuing a centuries old tradition. (God willing)

    The NSYR pointed out how we are failing to transmit the faith in such a manner that empowers young people to become religiously articulate. Our challenge is to be able to continually be able to critique and grow within the CHURCH that we love and embrace. I always want to be able to celebrate what “defines” us denominationally, recognizing that, sadly, some of it is the same stuff that divides us as Christians.

    Our Church needs to be more communal, but, Marko, you have seen with your peeps at Life Teen that them wacky Catholics “get” “communion” differently. We are to be missional. It is a catholic sensibility (shared by others, undoubtedly) that it is not that our church has a mission, but that our mission has a church.

    Like I said when I started, I’m not even sure how articulate I have been (and sorry for the long post), but I did want to share my concern.

  2. I’m uncomfortable with this chart. If nothing else, it’s simplistic – a stereotype.

    If this is how the majority of people see the Church, then is this what the Church has become? If this is what the Church has become, then Jesus has failed. After all, this whole Church thing was his idea in the first place.

    I know people have been hurt by the Church, but I don’t think that representing the Church as so diametrically opposed to the person of Jesus is helpful.

  3. A couple thoughts/questions:

    1) IF the chart is accurate, I’m not sure it’s fair to designate the same lists to youth ministry. I like to think that youth groups generally have been able to avoid some of these pitfalls and perceptions more than “big church” has. I’m not sure youth ministry is as guilty…

    2) Personally, I struggle with lists like this. Certainly the church deserves critique and we have earned much or our reputation, BUT there are a whole lot of people who want absolutely nothing to do with the church, are biased against God/Christ/Religion etc and use such perceptions as an excuse. I wonder how many people honestly see the local church as this flawed vs. individual people they have met who are flawed and thus attach these flaws to “the church”?

    3) Seems like even Jesus had room for the occassional “both/and” Jesus was into both smallness AND bigness, He was into blessing AND converting.

    4) The church is flawed because we are fallen. Does the list on the left reflect a more Christ-like effort? I’m sure it does. I’m also pretty dang sure that we will figure out how to screw up that model as well (and yes, it is a model).

    5) Thanks for making me think, Mark! I appreciate it.

  4. Church bashing has definite become vogue for many people, and how deeply tragic, especially since Jesus is our glorious head-leader. The church is a reflection of not only Christ and His strength, but, as another has stated here, a reflection of our weakness. It is the institution (and it most definitely IS an institution—began and sustained by God Himself) in which these most demonstrably interact. A love for the head should be a love for the body—and before we critique the body, I think we should examine more deeply and surgically WHY God decided to put on display our weakness for all to see. Perhaps the seeming imperfections of the church are EXACTLY what God intended…

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  6. Sherwood Lingenfelter (anthropologist and Provost at Fuller Seminary) created a chart like this, but his columns were Kingdom vs. Culture which I think is a better distinction and avoids “bride” abuse.

    Lingenfelter’s chart (which I shared in a general session at NYWC San Diego a couple years back) is right on, I think Dave’s is good but presents some biases (i.e mystery vs answers).

    Lingenfelter is showing how we allow alignment with works of culture to destroy the kingdom nature of the church, rather than characterizing the church definitively.

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