Here’s another letter used with permission. I’ll reply later, but what would you say — how do we make our ministries, including those with our youth, more missional?
I have touched base with you a couple times in the past. I appreciate how you take the time to help me work stuff out. I have been enjoying your blog. Your blog has been very thought provoking for me lately. i have been struggling with a few questions about ministry and i was hoping you might have some thoughts on the matter. ready for them? ok.
so, what does a missional youth ministry look like? i am a youth pastor at a traditional mennonite church i grew up in. how does a traditional youth ministry become missional? what does that even mean? has anyone done it that has shared about it? any books? what are the implications for wednesday night b.s. and sunday school? how do i get over that hump? i am feeling the tension. it is good though. i just dont know what to do about it. talk to you soon. thanks for your time.
I thought noon might be a good time to weigh in. I want to suggest that we think in terms of models of what we are doing and I want to create three models of what our “gatherings” look like.
Overall, for some they are imitate Sunday morning services. Let’s call this the worship model. Singing, praying, sermonizing, singing, praying and dispersion. It’s desiged to get the job done. It doesn’t get the whole job done.
A second model is the classroom model. Singing, praying, teaching/educating/instructing is the focus of the youth pastor. The idea is downloading information into the students’ heads. This, too, gets some of the job done. We need to educate our youth.
A third model is the mentoring model, and I believe only a mentoring model can create a missional youth ministry. Worship is important as is education. But, the only way to create a missional model is to mentor in the act of embracing the other. What I mean is simple: you can worship God and that might (but probably won’t) lead you to see and serve your neighbor’s need. You can educate and that might lead you to see and serve your neighbor’s need. Missional goes further because it builds on the worship and educational models to be a guide to those who are serving and to model how serving occurs (and to learn together — not just be a model) and to guide within that serving is the best way to create a missional model. Missional will come out of seeing and serving your neighbor’s need and the youth pastor will be the mentor in that missional work.
So, the “gathering” can simply be worship or education or it can be more. For it to be missional, though, it has to be story time and mutual fellowship of what we are doing as we each contribute to one another. The youth pastor sometimes has to be the informer and the teacher and the guide and sometimes the youth pastor can sit there and watch it all happen as students help one another.
Missional is about serving and so it will be focused on teaching and guiding the development of those skills. More can of course be said but others will surely have more to say.
Hope this helps brother.