part 2 of a 3-part ym3.0 review

marv nelson has posted a 3-part review of youth ministry 3.0. i posted part 1 previously. and now, part 2:

As I stated in my first post on this book (HERE), I am going to unpack further some of the ideas that Marko opens up in his book: Youth Ministry 3.0.

Today, I will deal with two: 1. Getting small; 2. Belonging.

Marko contends (rightly, I believe) that in order to meet this new wave of Youth Ministry, we have to have a “get small” attitude. This is a MAJOR shift within Youth Ministry, because it’s has been (in the YM 2.0 mode) all about GETTING BIG!

I remember when I was a student doing things that were called: B.E.O (code for Big Event Outreach). These were the big deal outreaches where you get kids in, throw Jesus at them ad hope they come back. There was TONS of money spent, tons of hours planing and tons of people invited. The bigger, the better was the mindset. It was programming for the sake of programmimg in a lot of ways.

Sadly, what ended up happening was it seemed disingenuous, fake and all about numbers. Marko states in YM 3.0 that this obsession with numbers must CEASE.

I believe he’s RIGHT. All this obsession with numbers has hurt Youth Ministry rather than help. It has caused Youth Leaders to be depressed, arrogant and jealous. It has caused the focus of Jesus to be transformed into productivity. It has taken the role of importance from kids knowing, loving and living for Jesus into getting bigger, better numbers of people into the ministry.

Getting small would help down the road of true discipleship as well as create a place where belonging can be felt.

When I asked my Sunday School class of Sr. & Jr. High boys: “Where do you feel you belong…or in other words where do you feel most like YOU?” I received tons of good answers. One kid said: “with my music friends, doing music”. Another said “with my fourth period friends” still another said “stage crew”. Lastly one student said “At lunch with my lunch friends”. I guarantee that you’d have similar answers if you asked the question.

We NEED to notice something about these responses…does anyone see it? OK, I’ll help you…they are all…SMALL GROUPS!

Getting small, creating ways to be small in a BIG group will help bring students into a place where they can say: “I Belong”. The students didn’t say “At School, with everyone” or “With everyone at church” they said micro-groups of certain people. If we’re honest…we’d have a similar response ourselves. We feel belonging in smaller places…less places to get hurt..less places to have people know our business and less places to be truly known.

I will continue to unpack this stuff. However, I ask you, the reader whether you are teen, youth pastor, youth leader or none-of-the-above to interact with this. Tell me what you think….good, or bad…I want to know!

3 thoughts on “part 2 of a 3-part ym3.0 review”

  1. Good points made, Marv. You make it sound, though, like small groups is the way to go, and I don’t think that’s the catch-all answer. I am reminded of what Marko also says about small groups in his section on communion/community in YM3.0, and I tend to agree with him.
    “True community doesn’t mean once-a-week, highly programmed youth group meetings. True community MIGHT take place in the context of a small group – but the practice and programming of small groups does not ensure true community. True community is life-on-life, whole life, eating together, sharing journeys, working through difficulties, wrestling with praxis…and a host of other variables.” (p. 73)

    In my reading of YM3.0 I didn’t once get the feeling that Marko was emphasizing that we all start “small group ministries”. That seems too “programmatic” for 3.0.

    As a youth minister of over 25 years, I love the “freeing” up that 3.0 gives me. Right now I’m struggling with trying to figure out just what that freedom entails.

  2. My mention of Small groups was not to say we need to implement small group programs, rather the groups in which people feel most belonging is in a group that is small. I should’ve been a bit more clear on that point, since saying the word “small groups” has such a stigmatic connotation to it.

    My main premise was this: “Getting small, creating ways to be small in a BIG group will help bring students into a place where they can say: “I Belong” “. We need to find ways in which to implement the “get small” mentality, since it is within a group that is smaller to which people feel they belong. How this is done is where we as Youth Pastors need to put into practice the 3.0 mindset. Does that make more sense?

  3. Yes! Thanks, Marv, for clearing that up. I agree, and that’s where I am right now in my planning and evaluating. We’ve started calendaring for the fall, Sunday evening “entry level” events now, and it all feels wrong to me – now that I’ve read and am motivated by 3.0. I’d almost rather put my time toward finding mentors connections for every youth and training them through the summer. I’d love to get some ideas from folks (but, that’s beginning to sound like a program…Ahh!!).

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