ym3.0 reflections

not really a review, but more like some ruminations and impressions on “youth ministry 3.0” by jon kelly:

It was the last weekend in May of 2005 when my wife and I moved back to Laramie for me to take over leadership of the student ministry at Emmaus Road Community Church. Looking back, I’m sure they could have found a much more suited director, but I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given. Fortunately, there were incredible people around me willing to help me learn to lead. One of them was Raul Cruz, who was serving as lead pastor at our church, and has served many years in youth ministry. He started giving me names of books that he felt would prepare me. The first one I read was called The Coming Revolution in Youth Ministry, which is a great book looking at the birth of student ministries and parachurch youth organizations coming out of “Sunday School,” and the shift to the large attractional style youth groups. It goes on to state that there is another revolution coming because the current model isn’t working. This book was written in 1992. Fast-foward to 2008.

In November I was able to attend the National Youth Worker Conference they held in Nashville. I learned a lot of things about ministry, but the ideas that seemed to constantly come up included, “Our ministries need to be smaller, less busy, less activity and more experience, and we need to allow our volunteer leaders the chance to fail if we are going to teach them to lead.” Those ideas are something we’ve been talking about at our church significantly for the past year. It’s not always easy to do, but is very worth it! Mark Oestreicher is now the president of Youth Specialties, and he just came out with a new book called Youth Ministry 3.0 I picked up a copy and started reading it on the flight home and couldn’t put it down.

His view is that experience is going to be the driving factor for really reaching students. As in Psalm 34:8, they want to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” One phrase that I resonate with is “missional communion,” and the reason I love it is that the vision of Emmaus for two years now has involved living in missional community. Doing God’s work alongside both Christian and non-Christian friends and being a witness through lifestyle which tends to be far more effective. I’d really recommend the book as a challenge to why you teach and lead in student ministry the way you do. I’ll close with a quote from the book (pages 102-104) that I think sums up the future of ministry to students. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone whether they are a 20 year veteran to student ministry or a newbie.

“…Youth Ministry 3.0 needs to be intentionally proactive about providing teenagers with opportunities to experience God, not merely hear facts about God. What does this look like? In a word: Worship.” “Yes, worship includes the experience of raising our voices together in songs to God. And, yes, worship involves prayer. But a broader – more scriptural – view of worship is about serving the poor, righting injustice, caring for those in need. When teenagers – whether they’re already follower of Jesus or not – experience this kind of worship-in-action, they ahve an enormous opportunity to have a tangible experience of Godin their lives. This often leads to faith (or more faith). More importantly, this leads to a sustainable faith.”

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