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.
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 thirteenth bit, from chapter 6:
You’re a youth worker employed by a church, and you have all kinds of competing demands and expectations placed on you if you want to keep your job.
Or, you’re a volunteer youth worker who would love to bring change to your youth ministry, but you have limited time and extremely limited clout.
Or, you’re a senior pastor or other church leader who would love to see your youth ministry move toward Youth Ministry 3.0, but are smart enough to know you can’t just write a memo or demand it and expect real change.
What’s this change going to look like? Assuming some level of agreement with what I’ve proposed in the last chapter, you’ve likely taken off in a plane of thoughts and ideas that are (mostly) at the 30,000-foot level. How to land that plane is a different question.
And, I have to admit: I don’t know. It might be a smooth landing, but I doubt it. I think it’s more likely to be rough and spine jarring. We’re going to have to work this stuff out over years through radical experimentation, glorious failures, unfortunate rabbit trails, ticked off parents, decreasing numbers, and a host of other challenging – but 100% necessary – speed bumps. Speed bumps (or as my friends in the UK call them, speed humps) are needed right now. All those seemingly ugly things I just listed two sentences ago? We need to welcome them. They will provide course correction, refinement, pushback, and creative tension.
One thing I’m sure of: tweaking things won’t get us there. Youth Ministry 3.0 isn’t about making a subtle modification in one of your programs, or adding the words communion and mission to your youth ministry’s mission statement. Real change is absolutely messy. Always.
But which is better: Messy, substantive change, or useless mini-alterations?
I’ll take some stabs at describing some variables of Youth Ministry 3.0, however.