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!