Sunday, May 02, 2010

Presence Centered and Passionate Youth Ministry

I'm currently stuck at home due to immense flooding in the greater Nashville area, so why not blog, right?

A colleague of mine recently resigned from his position in youth ministry after a long struggle with parents of youth at his church. I won't get into the details, but I definitely mourn the situation he found himself in. While I'm certainly not going to provide groundbreaking insight into the field of youth ministry in a single blog post, I do want to include a link to some great quotes and some reflecting: Presence Centered Youth Ministry Quotes

I've read both books quoted in this article, and found both to be spot on, for the most part. I also found myself thinking, "Do I dare ask the youth committee to read these books?" I wondered if I was ready to challenge the system enough by posing the questions offered by Mike King and Kenda Creasy-Dean. I was particularly struck the quote having to do with youth ministry as behavior modification. I admit to feeling those pressure to do youth ministry in such a way to produce "good kids" and not challenge the prevailing values of the community in which they live. I become nervous about emphasizing Kingdom of God language too much for fear of youth and parents accusing me of having a "liberal political agenda." Yes, those words have been thrown at me as I quote scriptures about loving neighbor and jubilee.

In the end, I wish that parents and church congregations would focus more on spiritual development for people of all ages (yes, parents too) and be willing to seriously re-consider some of the "values" that are held so dear by the communities in which families live. It is not my job to create good American citizens. It is not my job to train my youth in the positive aspects of capitalism. It is my job to live a God-bearing life and to point young people to God's story/stories as we find them in Scripture. It is my job to make every effort to live according to the mandates of the Kingdom of God and to invite others to join in pledging allegiance to that Kingdom.

That's all for now. I welcome any additional thoughts, comments, questions, and even arguments.