it’s not brand new (because the link has been sitting in my overwhelming email inbox forever), but this post by joe troyer about his frustration over the need to bring change in his youth ministry is fantastic: honest and pointed.
I don’t know what to do. This is so frustrating. What do you do when what you always did doesn’t do it anymore? Youth culture and maybe culture in general has turned a corner. We talk about being “missional” and how attractional just isn’t cutting it anymore. Yet traditional youth ministry is nothing but attractional. We have events and tell kids to bring their friends to us. We feel like youth ministry has to have some sense of “attractiveness”. At the same time, across of much of my county youth ministries are in a lull and are bogging down. I hear it from youth pastors all the time. We think maybe we need to teach better. Or maybe we need to get some games in there to make it more exciting. Maybe we need a catchy name with words like XTREME or FIRE or XTREME FIRE! I mean it’s got to be better than Hartville Mennonite Church MYF (Mennonite Youth Fellowship) right? How can we make one event more exciting than the next. I am so tired of it.
I am tired of doing the same old stuff. Why? IT ISN’T WORKING!! Now to be intellectually honest, it is possible that maybe I am not that great of a youth pastor. Possible. There is always something I could be working on. But at the same time I know God has called me here for a purpose and a reason. That reason is to love kids and point them towards the Kingdom. But how? We have Sunday School. We have Bible Study. We have activities and fundraisers. I visit some kids at school. Sound familiar? Sure it does. This is how youth ministry has been done since it’s inception. It’s broken. And I don’t know how to fix it. What do we do in a postmodern, post-Christendom world? Is it unsettling to any one else?