this one from Jason Freyer
The word “surprise” is more than fitting for this blog post.
As I mentioned before, I just wrapped up Coffeehouse Theology, and I have sent my interview questions to Ed. While waiting though, I picked up and finished Youth Ministry 3.0 by Mark Oestreicher.
The other surprise is the book itself. Through my limited interactions with him at the National Youth Workers Convention, I have assumed that Marko was a goofy, spontanious, fun-loving, mohawk wearing guy (read: youth worker). And while that’s true, the side of him that I had been missing was the brilliant observer of youth culture, and the subtle shift that’s been going on right under our feet. The truth of the matter is, there is no reason that Youth Ministry 3.0 shouldn’t be on each and every youth worker’s reading list.
Mark argues through the book that youth ministry has actually lived through 3 epochs, the third of which just arrived on the scene. He states (and I believe rightly so) that while we (youth workers) did a really good job adjusting into the 1st and 2nd epoch, it seems that we are approaching the 3rd epoch with a 2nd epoch mindset.
But I feel as though I’m just scratching the surface of the change that needs to happen, the change that needs to happen in youth ministries across the Western World, as well as in my own little group.
This book was a huge challenge to me in two ways:
1) I worry that we at Veritas are still very much stuck in a Youth Ministry 2.0 mindset. It’s not that we don’t recognize the need for change, it’s just that for me at least I don’t know how best to understand the youth culture around me. I feel like I’m missing a big chunk of what’s going on in our student’s lives. I’m hoping through this book, and many of its suggestions, I can find my way to a better understanding of youth and youth culture.
2) A not “up front” point that kept coming up to me in this book is the need to allow students to have a stronger hand in deciding what goes on in our youth ministries. I grew up in a ministry in which we were taken on trips where the details were kept secret in order to have a sense of surprise. I can now see that while that approach benefited me as a youth in a Youth Ministry 2.0 mindset, it doesn’t do a thing now for our kids in 3.0.
So while this book has left me with a bunch of ideas to contemplate and review and discern, what impresses me most about it is my feeling that it will challenge anyone who comes across it. It used to be that Doug Field’s Purpose Driven Youth Ministry was the book that needed to be on every youth worker’s shelf, and while that’s still true to a degree, I think this book will go a lot further. I think this book does a great job of explaining why we will face some of the frustrations we face from parents and pastors alike. I think this book does a great job of explaining to veterans like me what needs to change in our approach, as well as showing the rookies the pitfalls that exist out there for us.
If I had to give it a letter grade: A+