youth ministry 3.0, part 1

youth ministry 3.0 is the working title of a book i’ve mostly written, which is expected to release this fall. it’s an attempt to name where and how we’re missing the mark in youth ministry, and what needs to change in order to more truly live into our calling as youth workers.

we’ve decided to open up the book a bit and solicit youth worker contributions as sidebar comments, and i’m going to use my blog for this purpose. until late april, i’ll be posting a series of snapshots from the rough draft of the manuscript. i invite lots of comments — questions, disagreements, ideas, very short stories or examples, reflections — which will be considered as additions to the book.

important:
by posting a comment, you are giving permission for your comment, with your screen name, to be added to the print book.

so, here’s the first one:

introduction

Jenna, an 8th grade girl, sat on a stool in front of 30 of her youth group peers. The room was rustic – wood mixed with dust – at a camp during a winter retreat. Everyone was silent, watching Jenna. She squirmed, trying to remember the answer. But she took too long.

I pushed the button, connected with wires to the contraption affixed to the bottom of the stool, which was connected to a wire screen wrapped over the top. The electrical charged zapped her, sending what felt like a million needles into her hind end. She screamed and lunged from the stool, much to the delight of the group, who broke into cheers.

Jenna couldn’t remember the Bible verse fast enough. So I shocked her on “the hot seat”.

Seriously. The hot seat was the laugh-riot, everyone-begged-for-it, centerpiece of our winter retreat each year.

If I had a hot seat in my youth ministry today, I would likely get sued. Or, at the very least, incur the significant wrath of some parents and lose my job. But things were different in the early 80s. Right?

It’s quite easy for me to look back at the hot seat and think, “Wow, how did we ever think that was ok?” It’s a little embarrassing, to say the least, especially that I used it with scripture memory!

But it raises a few questions to ponder:

Was the hot seat ever OK?
Has it gone by the wayside only because our culture has become so litigious?

If it was OK, why isn’t it OK now?
If it wasn’t OK, why didn’t we see that then?

These questions aren’t as simple as they might seem. If hot seats were semi-common in youth ministry in the 70s and into the mid-80s, and the students all thought it was fun, and no parents complained, and books suggested using them, was it wrong? In other words, if the common understanding among youth workers and encouragement of the youth ministry collective was, “hot seats are good,” does that make them good?

Or, maybe you’re thinking, “No, hot seats were morally wrong. Youth workers of that era just didn’t see it.” Why didn’t we see it? Why wasn’t there a backlash (from anyone)?

These are the kind of questions I’d like to take a stab at in this little book. Instead of looking at a silly and micro issue, like hot seats, I’d like to focus on the broader, macro questions surrounding our assumptions about youth ministry today.

We’re at a crossroads, I believe, in youth work. In order to be effective – in order to be true to our calling – we need to change. We need to turn at this crossroad. But I’m afraid we’re passing right through the crossroad, assuming the way we’ve always done things will continue to work.

Problem is: the way we’re doing things is already not working. We are failing at our calling. And deep down, most of us know it. This is why we need an epochal shift in our assumptions, approaches, models and methods.

It’s time for youth ministry 3.0.

49 thoughts on “youth ministry 3.0, part 1”

  1. I agree we need to change. But the larger question remains: are we willing to change? Or do we remain the child who believes that because he cannot see anyone from the inside of the blanket that no one will notice him from the outside?

  2. A couple of months into my youth ministry career I had a guys night that consisted of nothing other than giving each guy who came a gallon of milk setting a stopwatch for 60 minutes. About 25 minutes in, every guy began projecting their dinner all over the sidewalk in front of the church.

    As I was standing with a water hose, cleaning the sidewalk in the dark before church the next morning, I began to wonder what in the world was I doing. Making kids puke and making kids disciples are not even in the same ballpark.

    The six years I’ve worked for this church since, that has been my only milk challenge.

  3. Sadly youth ministry has become an entertainment venture for most churches. Youth pastors feel the pressure to just get kids in the door and if possible save them. Making them like Jesus is not the goal, numbers are the goal. Youth pastors also feel that they must keep the students they have and so they have moved to what I call a “raw” youth ministry, where we appeal to the students raw human nature that is so prevelant within modern media, just look at how far horror films have come in 20 years, to continue to keep students coming back. I personally refuse that type of ministry and in my 4 years at one church, I lost students in numbers but gained disciples who were willing to follow Jesus and not just be entertained.

  4. Hi Marko,
    Wow, great idea! I really applaud you on this book… What’s interesting with our groups are what is working… Sunday night fellowship is falling off, but Wednesday night dinner and Bible Study for Jr High and for Sr. High are both really growing… Likewise with retreats lot’s of hunger there… Deep conversations, debates about faith, debates about scripture – all of this stuff is working…
    The less we get concerned with numbers, and the more depth we go for the hungrier the kids become… Going toward the topics they are wrestling with helps too… They really want depth (some fun thrown in)so it’s a balance… Stuff like IJM and ASP, and studies on Prayer are firing on all cylinders while a lot of the conventional “fun and games” seem to be falling off.
    But you are right… We need to be open to how the Spirit leads us and where He leads us… It means taking some risks some times and stepping out of the boat, but as the conversation went a couple of years ago when I was jokingly told in a workshop at NYWC that that sort of radical thinking might get you fired, I responded, “Well it’s a good thing that I’m a volunteer then!” ;-)
    If we want to mentor kids in being change agents in their world, we need to be not afraid to change ourselves… We need to not be afraid to have deep conversations (and most importantly) real relationships with the kids we serve…
    Grace and Peace,
    Jim

  5. I was going to write and say “please, if you’re going to start with a story from youth work, at least start with a believable one”. You actually did that? As someone who had only just started to speak by the mid 80’s, chalk up one to the category that says “how on earth was that ever considered right?” (but just don’t ask me how I can be so sure of that.)

  6. Hey Mark,
    As a member of a youth group in the early 70’s (oops! giving away my age), I can remember the “hot seat” at one of the youth groups of which I was a member… Actually, it was something that especially we guys (to show how tough we were) opted for… ;-)
    We had a lot of fun with it… ;-) Of course we liked fire and blowing things up at that age… And taking our bikes to unbelievable speeds and jumping, and wrecking…
    That which did not kill me made me stronger… ;-)

  7. While having a hot seat in and of itself was not, in and of itself, a good idea, the exercise does recognize two very important factors. One – scripture memory is an important part of discipleship, and therefore scripture memorization should be part of any youth ministry. Two – discipleship comes about in part through adversity.

    This society that we find ourselves in has gone to great lengths to remove and sterilize adverse situations, usually litigiously. As such, the mandate that we often hear from our churches is less of “help us create disciples” to “don’t get us sued”.

    I can’t help but think that youth ministry has eliminated things like “hot seats” and become a form of entertainment because entertainment is “safe”. How do we create “safe” discipleship?

  8. At first glance it seems to me that the hotseat and getting shocked for not knowing a scripture by memory equates the hotseat as some punishment for not being spiritually strong. I never went through that when I was in the youth group in the mid to late 80’s, thank goodness. Yes, we live in a lawsuit happy society and we have to be careful, but for me it’s more important to look at whether or not the ends justify the means. Did the teens become better at memorizing scripture? If they did, was it memorization just to avoid pain or was it memorization that led to more Bible knowledge! I’m rambling I know but I just can’t justify learning through negative reinforcement…if that’s what it was.

  9. I think the “hot seat” could be anything today: the way we speak, worship music, the trips we take, etc. To turn the corner, I think we need to be ready to kill some “sacred cows” and listen to the voice of God, the same voice of God that almost always tells us that popular opinion (all the youth workers back then were using it, all the good youth groups are doing it now) is wrong.

  10. I don’t question the hot seat as a tool. It was a cultural thing that probably worked then. I think my question would be, why is scripture memorization so important? Through the past two decades I have seen bunches of teens who could quote the Bible and had no idea what it meant or no way of it leading to being in God’s presence.

    Memorizing the Bible, IMO, is a failure of past youth ministry.

  11. A hot seat? Really!!! Marko I think the book is a great idea, and we need it – desperately! I have been doing this youth ministry thing for 13 years, I just recently returned from my eleventh Mexico mission trip, and I must confess that I do not have a clue. The past few days I have been wondering if I good serve Jesus more effectively if I was not in youth ministry. To disciple kids is a costly venture and I question if those of us receiving compensation from the church really can do it? For us to raise up disciples we must speak the truth, live a crazy-odd life, require more than is culturally expected or appropriate, say things like sports and college are not the most important thing, and to be honest I do not know if we can really pursue discipleship and hold down a job in the church. I desperately want youth to encounter and emulate Jesus, but I do not know if I helping them to do either. Fun and games cannot be the priority, but neither can we as youth ministers. We must change and the only way to do that is to fall more in love with Jesus, and live the life that Jesus calls us to, that wacky, hard, exciting, challenging, beautiful life of faith.

  12. I wish I had a “hot seat” experience personally everytime a kid graduated and never came back to church. I think we were too casual about our ministry failures for far too long. Losing a teen should have been more painful than it was.

  13. The number one thing we need to remember is that just being present in these student’s lives is more important than the classes, small groups, and games. If we’re being true to Jesus, the rest will come.

  14. Marko
    Sounds like a neat book.

    I’ve been in youth ministry for about 30 years (I’m a ypk and I’ve been youth pastor/leader for about 15 years now) and have seen or heard about quite a few “hot seats” but I’ve also seen lots of great things come out of youth ministries.

    In the midst of getting too focused on numbers – I hate that – I try to remember Paul’s commands to Timothy…

    1 Tim 4:16 – watch your life and doctrine closely
    2 Tim 4:2 – preach the word

    If we can remember those things in the presence of students as we try to lead them to Christ (for the first time or simply to a greater understanding of Him) then we are incredible tools in the Master’s hands.

    To those of you frustrated by and perhaps down on youth ministry and its importance. Remember, our job is pastor, it’s just that we get to do it in the best and most joyful arena of youth. While we surely share our responsibility for those who leave in their 20’s perhaps we have the wrong perspective on that at times…what if we’re the last front of the battle and if we’re not there they leave in their teens instead of their 20’s.

    I look forward to reading the book.

  15. The problem with the “hot seat” is that it serves no purpose other than humiliation. Sure, it may be cloaked in humor and kids may have volunteered, but at it’s heart the hot seat is a cold, a-relational device. Why have we moved on? Perhaps it’s because we’re re-discovering the power (and necessity) of life-affirming relationships in youth ministry, and relationships are organic – they can’t be facilitated by a hot seat or any other gimmick.

  16. To buzz or not to buzz…wrong question. Relevance is overrated. “The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love.” Whatever form that takes at whatever point in history we find ourselves, we must speak truth in the context of relationships that will enable us to come alongside teens in this most volatile and formative stage of life. The rest is just “chubby bunny”.

  17. My problem in my current ministry context is that I have some parents for whom that kind of youth ministry ‘worked’. They were entertained for 4+ years and, because of coming from a solid Christian home, have remained a Christian to this day. Unfortunately, the majority of students in these kinds of youth ministries left the faith altogether, and have no say in today’s youth ministry practices. So, because of my agreement that youth ministry needs to shift, I am argued with, accused of, and called into meetings by people who want their kids to have what they had – because it worked for them.

    how can I get people to see beyond themselves? How can we stem the tide?

  18. The hot seat story seems to be a small picture of a bigger trend in history: we think something is a great idea at the time; we try it out; it initially seems to work; then 20 years later, we are dumbfounded at our great-idea-turned-horror-story. It’s part of the phenomenon known as a “paradigm shift,” the moments in life when we awaken to deeper and fuller ideas. We need to be asking the deeper questions about what our actions and attitudes will communicate long into the future of youth ministry.

  19. I became a youth minister because I could hear over and over again in my spirit, “There has to be more to God than this…”

    There is a college kid in my ministry that helps out with the high school students. One day as I talked to him, I thanked him for serving God in the high school ministry. He blew me off, saying he didn’t do much.
    “I just call them during the day, to see how they’re doing. A girl I saw in Wal-mart once, I know the other kids don’t like her much, but I walked with her for an hour, talking about her life. I try to hang out with them whenever.” he said.
    I looked at him and said, “That’s ministry. Thank you for getting it.”
    He cocked his head to the side and responded, “I never thought of it that way.”
    I got in the car and cried.
    Why didn’t anyone tell him?

    There has got to be more to youth ministry than this.

    ps. the hot seat idea reminds me of a saying I adopted a while ago about ministry: “Everything has an expiration date.”

  20. In my situation, I have just started being a youth pastor. The expectations for me in the church have been somewhat typical. Numbers and events outweigh missions and ministry. I think half of the battle is convincing everybody that it is not all about the typical youth group “benchmarks.” The shift we need to go to, whatever that might look like, will be different to the older generation that figures 40 youth on a Sunday night at church is successful.

  21. one word: relationships. in my opinion, that is probably the single most effective tool in any ministry, but especially with youth. in this multi-media world, entertainment just doesn’t do it for them. i think we need to go into their world, love on them, and share the love of Jesus with them.

  22. Seriously? People think that litigious society is why we did away with “hot seats”?

    Maybe “hot seats” went away because they were dumb. Just like “chubby bunny”, “gallon challenge”, and “red hot tongue” went away or should go away.

  23. The big issue is that Youth Ministry 1.0 and 2.0 have focused on Entertain me; babysit my kid rather what is the church and community to do as a whole. Being the Hands and feet of Jesus isn’t easy. I think the YM experiment has failed. We have made youth ministry – glorified, professionalized and hopefully in the future it will be dismantled and re-evaluated.

    I remember the days of YM being Nursery through College and now it has been more age group specific.

    Does it help? I don’t know.

  24. Marko,
    I’m 23 and I’ve been a youth director for a little over 2 years. Most ministry I’ve seen done, both youth and beyond, is always 20 years behind. Not simply on technology, we have lots of churches who use technology well, we just have very few people courageous enough, creative enough, and idealistic enough to believe that discipling teenagers isn’t a program (or 2 hours a week) it’s something that must become more than one person’s job (the youth pastor) and more than the select few adults responsibility (the youth ministry team)…discipleship must become the passion of the church (from ages 1-90)or else we will continue to fail the teenagers in our community. Maybe it’s relationships (the buzz word in churches) but I truly believe it is more.It’s the kind of relationship where we pour our lives into people.

    LOVE.

    Not the I love you…so…let’s play some games.
    or
    I love you…so…let’s have a 2 hour worship service.

    But the kind of I love where we INVEST our lives in others.

    Maybe then…

  25. Assuming the hot seat couldn’t cause an injury, I think it is okay IF the youth, knowing full well what it does, gets on it voluntarily. In my group, there are kids that would love to do it and others that would not.

    With youth, the fact that you use methodology that is unorthodox is not in itself a bad thing. Laughing at one’s self or friend on the hot seat my open them up to deeper experiences.

    If the silliness aspect allows even a few youth to meet the Gospel where they are, I say go for it. If I had such a gadget, it would use it but not very often.

  26. Hot Seat? No wonder the church is in decline. Hopefully Youth Ministry 3.0 won’t scar teenagers so that they will have their children in our youth ministry twenty years from now.

  27. I am not a youth worker but felt like I wanted to share this as I was one of those youths who “fell through the cracks”.

    A couple of summers in the early 90s my parents shipped me away to Christian summer camp. I was around 12-13 years old. Both summers I left the camp completely uninterested, uninspired and untouched. Why? Because the camp leaders never truly connected with us. They always assumed that we would meet them at their level, through the different activities and sessions they had planned. They didn’t realize it had to be about meeting us at our level. I never felt acknowledged on a personal level by any of the youth leaders. They always seemed to focus on the “group” rather than us as individuals and I certainly didn’t feel that the group represented me.

    In this day in age with increasing violence and substance abuse and more disadvantaged, broken homes than ever before, kids are just dying to be acknowledged. They need somebody to connect with them on a personal level. They need leaders who will take the time to listen and who can affirm that they are OK and they are loved, no matter who they are, where they are from and what they are dealing with. If that connection isn’t made it is highly unlikely the youth will allow leaders to take them on something so sacred as a spiritual journey.

  28. EVERY youth worker should read the comment by michball. I will be printing it out and giving it to each of my leaders. THIS is what youth ministry is about.

    “If that connection isn’t made it is highly unlikely the youth will allow leaders to take them on something so sacred as a spiritual journey.”

    that right there is a powerful rallying call to us all. can we really expect our youth to trust us with their souls if they don’t know that we love them?

    I can’t really add anything more. just to reiterate, ALL youth workers please, please please read what michball has written.

    And michball, please hang in there, many of us are trying really hard to do and be exactly what you say you needed, it’s not easy, but we’re trying, don’t give up on us.

  29. I lost my job as a youth pastor in the mid-90s over a mooning incident. In hindsight I can see how stupid and irresponsible my actions were, but this is what had been modeled to me by youth leaders when I was a teen in the 80s. It has been interesting getting different reactions to the incident over the years. One person told me that their youth group used to moon a passing train and leaders were even involved! So a similar question to what you raise, was mooning ever OK? etc.,… Now obviously this is a very different issue than the hot seat. But this also shows a stark contrast between acceptable behavior and practices between now and the 80s. But despite all the idiotic and misguided things that happened in youth ministry in the 80s, I still found Christ in the relationships that I established there. But it’s a different day today. We need to see our calling as shepherds and priests and learn how to help fill the longing in adolescents hearts for identity, belonging and significance through deep, loving relationships and pointing them to Jesus.

  30. It is an exciting time to be in youth ministry. We are learning that God is bigger then our games and goofiness; maybe we are learning that our kids are too…

  31. Oh wow, totally missed the hindsight thing! Too funny! Always the butt of all these jokes… in the end… sorry, bottoming out on these jokes now! Satan, get thee behind me! You looking at my bum?!?

  32. be patient, brian — it will get there. but, basically, the book suggests that there are three epochs of youth culture – 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0; but have only been two epochs of youth ministry – 1.0 and 2.0. our disconnect is in trying to use youth ministry 2.0 to reach youth culture 3.0.

  33. My apologies for the length…

    Remember that what has been done in youth ministry in the recent past, even with its flaws and questionable methods, was better than what came before it, which largely was non-existent.

    Before youth ministry as we have known it over the last twenty or so years, often churches’ attention to students consisted of old Aunt Milred teaching a Sunday school class of dress-wearing girls, and tie-wearing boys, using such culturally relevant techniques as the flannel graph and the upright piano.

    This is similar to big-box, seeker evangelicalism which many of us were raised in, which we now find distasteful. We may be at a place where we are ready to move on, but we must give it proper credit for the role it played in the time and place in which it did. Consider that when churches like Willow Creek and their peers came onto the scene, what was there? What other options existed? I think it can safely be said that churches of Willow’s flavor made a significant contribution to the kingdom, and were responsible for getting people engaged in the cause of Christ at a far deeper level than many of their predecessors.

    Also, I do not think it is coincidence that many of the leaders emerging as vehicles of change in contemporary Christianity came out of these churches.

    In many ways I loath the large church that I was raised in and now have enough ethical disagreements with it that I could never again be involved. But at least as I ponder the past, I have to remember that this church, despite its methods I may look back on and question, raised me. It had a significant influence on encouraging the person of faith I have become. It produced many of the leaders that shaped my life. It produced my beloved wife and the men who stood with me at my wedding.

    I am no longer in youth ministry. But as I engage in the similar ministry questions that I am currently wrestling with, I often look back to the things that I did in my youth ministry years. Some of them give me a laugh, and some of them make me wonder what we were thinking. Some of them would cause present students to run away, and others would get us sued.

    We did the best we could. We responded to the culture of the time. We made an impact and produced many young leaders who would later engage us in the great conversation.

    The silliness we look back on today was merely the vehicle of the time that allowed for the real ministry to take place which was the one-on-one relationships we had with students. Even in the day, none of us actually thought that biting the head off a fish or dropping a watermelon off the roof of the church would cause a miraculous conversion.

    Of course, today many of these things like the hot seat cause us to question our sanity. But what is it in today’s context that are the vehicles to develop relationships with students? What aspects of youth culture do we infiltrate in order to develop the relationships with students that can truly impact their spiritual development? Is it through technology or social networks, sports or music?

    The Christian faith has been about relationships since the days of the Gospels.

    Whether in youth ministry or church at large, as we seek to reinvent the future, we must be cautious that in reacting to what we correctly identify as problems with the current ministry, we don’t let the pendulum swing back to the stiff, disconnected, and often legalistic environment that spawned many of the churches we were raised in.

  34. What do I see? A need for adults to hold student’s accountable in love, a need for core Christian students already in the group being authentic in their walk so those on the outside see a difference and want it, the church to embrace and value student ministry for the great support system it is and can be to the family, especially at a time when students are disconnecting from mom and dad and need a safe place to vent, share and find truth in love. What do I know? I did not grow up in church and it was a real authentic peer that invited me and helped me begin this journey of being a Christ follower. I saw in her the real love I had been hearing about, it wasnt about the t-shirt she wore with a slogan or how many times she walked into church. She really lived it. I wasn’t looking to my parents anymore for answers, and thank God she had the courage to invite me. What are we doing to raise up students willing to take a stand? Do they play the game because that is what they are role modeled or do they know how to be authentic and real. Are our student ministries a “no-judgement zone” place or are messy kids not welcome. Do we go TO the students(hangouts, schools, activities) or expect them to find their way to us? Do parents even understand the purpose of Student Ministry and how at this time in their students lives SM is the greatest support system available to them, besides the family; is that name “Student Ministry” relevant to the culture and what we are trying to do? So many questions, trying to find the answers, so many hurting kids, looking to us for hope and a future!

  35. Tom C –

    I am glad you were able to get something out of my comment. I was hesitating about posting, but then thought, ah you never know what value somebody may be able to find in it.

    There is no doubt in my mind that most of the youth workers out there are putting their hearts into their work. And I know working with kids isn’t easy. It is like Marko says, it is about finding the right methodology. I encourage you all to keep up the good work!

  36. “If it was OK, why isn’t it OK now?
    If it wasn’t OK, why didn’t we see that then?”

    I think that we have to remember the culture and context of things. Youth and church culture was very different 20 years ago. This was also when stories of Russian soldiers breaking into underground church and scaring off all of the ‘fake’ christians. This is the time when the christian sub culture was taking root and if you find your mom, you hesitated for a second thinking you were left behind. The stol ‘game’ fit into the context that it was in.

    If the stool game happened in today’s context, i wouldn’t be worried about a law suit, i would be worried that the student would never come back because s/he was embarrassed. The student’s spiritual journey would cease.

    I’m convinced that in 20 years this same discussion will happen based on what we are currently doing. The next generation will look back and go, man, what was my youth paster thinking.

  37. I’ve been involved in youth ministry for 34 years in Youth For Christ. In the early days I have fond memeories of the hot seat. We didn’t use it as a motivation for Scripture memorization. After a few years we didn’t use it anymore. The reason for discontinuing use is we heard that a church used it to see how long a kid could sit on the chair before getting off. The electric current eventually burned the guys buns. Then parents did get upset.

  38. And right on time I open my email to see the YS Update for 04.01.08 and one of the links in this weeks newsletter?

    “8 Stupid (and Fun!) Youth Group Games” http://christianteens.about.com/od/activities/a/stupidgames.htm

    which includes

    “Milk Chug

    This is fun, but ultimately disgusting. It is a good idea to get permission from the parents of students competing, as it will likely result in vomiting. So why is it on this list? Well, it really is a fun competition to do during a service. Have four or five students volunteer to compete during a youth service or activity. At the start of service give each student a gallon of milk. Throughout the service the students chug the milk to see who can finish the entire jug first. It is a good idea to have garbage cans on hand.”

    hmmm….

  39. I just stumbled onto your blog and will read the rest of the posts. I have been involved in ministry for 25 years in the same church. I have had the pleasure of watching kids grow up from wide-eyed wonder, to silliness, to rebellion, … and finally to adulthood. I have seen many kids drift off into the world and have seen many come back to the church.

    Our current sunday school program is very good but it is not growing. It basically services the families that attend our church. In fact, many kids of those families choose not to attend the sunday school. My observation is that the sunday school or youth group or whatever you want to call it is not interesting/fun. We are in competition with other points of interest in a kid’s life. I have a strong conviction that it can be fun and interesting but just don’t know how to do it. One essential element is to have that sold-out person who will stop at nothing to make it happen. How can we make a youth group that is so compelling to the kids that it would be the first in a long list of places to go and be at?

  40. It is because of things like the “hot seat” that as a person who was not a follower of Jesus at the time, hated Christians and churches.

    I had heard people who went to churches talk about such things, and I had already seen the embarrassment of some of my friends with such antics, whether in church or otherwise. To hear that a church was doing those types of things made me hate them all the more.

    I NEVER did things like that in my youth ministry. The pain that it caused was insurmountable. I have seen students walk away from youth ministries (and some even the church) for good because of these things.

    For some students, you are facilitating hell on earth for them. For sake of the Kingdom, please THINK about what you are saying by the environment you are setting up.

  41. Before I became a Christian, I always thought Christians did not have fun and just prayed and read the Bible all the time. I became a Christian as a junior in high school and I probably would have not become one had it not been for the zany fun filled times. Had it been a serious and stale, I would have never kept coming. I wanted a sense of belonging and that was my entrance. We can’t skip the fun, but it should not be the utmost emphasis on how YM clicks. It should be to develop youth into followers of Christ, not robot disciples who know the scripture references and don’t know what they mean or even how to lead a person to Christ. If they (youth) see how we live hopefully they see how we live with Christ in our lives. Even in our dumb times (mooning, chuging, et al.
    We do need to shift big time. The church still is stuck on Lord I lift your name on high as a “new song.” We need to speed up to catch up to youth culture, before we lose an entire generation like we have with the 20 somethings. The way culture is presently we will never catch up unless we decide to move to reach the lost and disciple the saved.

  42. The hot seat still has a purpose! I found the instructions and description of how to do it in an old Youth Specialties Idea Book that was in the office I took over. I read it to my youth group and they laughed hysterically. Especially the part about the warnings of not standing too close to the edge of a stage, etc.

    Don’t throw those old idea books away! They are wealth of material for attention getters before your talks!

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