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Jesus Creed

Youth Ministry 3.0 (3)

Marko.jpg So, what can we do? Marko, in his new book, Youth Ministry 3.0: A Manifesto of Where We’ve Been, Where We Are & Where We Need to Go
, has a bundle of suggestions and I want to discuss a few of them today.


What do you think? Are any of you in YM 3.0? What are you seeing? What are your suggestions?

If the focus is affinity and we need to move more into communion and mission, what will 3.0 youth ministries look like?

We may need to develop multiple youth ministries within the same church to speak into multiple youth cultures.

We may need one youth ministry with a dream of supra-culture, kingdom of God culture.

Or a hybrid of the two. He makes several proposals, like one group for some stuff and smaller groups for other things.

We may need to cut programs; we may need to get small; provide opportunities for youth to experience God. We need to be “communional.” It is small, slow, simple, fluid, present, and Jesus-y.

We need to focus on integrating teenagers with the church. And we need to be more missional.

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just me

posted March 19, 2009 at 1:01 am

This seems to be a shift towards the the one thing I’ve used as fuel for my cynicism these past 8 years. The felt “push” to get bigger and better – more polished – drove me away from youth ministry. Too many youth ministries were increasingly “successful” while somehow losing the students upon graduation.
I regret not standing and staying involved.

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chad m

posted March 19, 2009 at 2:29 am

i have a post about this book i made a few months back. here’s what i thought…
first off, the book was nothing new. kids don’t like fun and games; they want relationships; they want community; they want to be affirmed for who they are and what they do. sad thing is, even though that seems to be a big “duh!” for us youth folks, we still can’t get it right so more books have to be written that say the same thing over and over. when will we get it!?
my critique…some kids still want games. some only want games. some only want events. some will only come and will only give you a glimpse into their lives if you give them something to come to. it reminds of reading “Contemplative Youth Ministry,” being ridiculously excited to implement these ideas, and realizing that my kids weren’t, and never would be, as excited as me!
about “affinity groups.” at what point do affinity groups further sub-divide the church? skater kids over there, computer kids over there, boys scouts there, music kids there, etc. i think Christ’s body is about breaking down affinities and uniting us by one Lord, one faith, one baptism. at what point does the church offer something better to kids? at what point do we refuse to play by the world’s rules? at what point do we acknowledge affinity groups and try to break them down and encourage understanding and acceptance between groups?
sorry, i know this is a little rough on the book. glad you made this post. i’m excited about the conversation that might develop!

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posted March 19, 2009 at 11:31 am

I work with the youth ministry at my 4,000 member church in Dallas. It’s a big change from being at a small inner-city church in Wrigleyville that literally had NO teenagers attending.
In any case, the model here is to take the kids and put them in small groups when they enter 6th grade. They’re put in groups with their friends (same gender), generally by school. The groups are ideally around 6-10 people. They have two leaders, who are often in their 20’s or 30’s. These groups stay together all the way through graduation from high school. This way the youth ministry leadership can focus on Sunday morning big-group events, retreats, and in general the planning process. The small groups that meet during the week for accountability, discipleship, and Bible Study are more personal.
I like the long-term aspect of this, and how it fascilitates good relationships and the opportunity to apply the teaching of Sunday to the individual lives of the kids during the small group meetings.
The difficulty is that it is not very involved in the life of the larger church – it is a bit of a world to itself.

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Phil Niemi

posted March 19, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Chad and Kasie,
I can empathize with some of your thoughts. I think things come down to integrating discipleship into a students WHOLE life. Being real with them. Lovingly confronting them, etc.
I also believe that “tribalism” is part of the youth culture, but just like our adults, call the students to identifying as disciples, church and youth group members first. This is their common identity
Lastly, we must integrate students with and in the mission of the church with adults of the church, if it stops at youth, they will stop at youth. I believe this also ties in with believing parents taking their role as parent and being a students primary discipler for scripture reading, prayer life, etc. We youth workers won’t do it the way the parents want, and often think differently than the parents.
We must point them to Christ.

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posted March 19, 2009 at 2:06 pm

I think integrating teenagers into the church body is vital to their faith journey! Our ministry has begun making shifts and changes in order to see this happen, but the major issue I keep running into are the adults. Our youth staff can understand the importance of teens feeling a part of our church family, some parents and church leadership understand it, and I know our teens want it; but if the church is not willing to meet them, know them, love them, and encourage them, then they wind up as “visitors” who are often overlooked and undervalued. How do we get the church as a whole to understand that we are all the church, and that God calls us to minister to one another and love one another…not ignore the unruly youth until they are mature enough to accept the “adult” way of doing church.
I hope that one day I am able to work myself out of a job. My heart is to see the church coming together as one multi-generational unit of believers who live life together.

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Jim Martin

posted March 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Scot–What an important subject. I am intrigued by some of these possibilities. One thing for sure, we really need to take a good, hard look at the way many of us have been doing youth ministry. I like the idea of rethinking the whole approach.
Sure think the idea of integration with the whole church is important. Far too often youth ministry and various other ministries operate as silos which stand alone and at times even disconnected from the larger body of believers.

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posted March 19, 2009 at 3:05 pm

#6 Jim, your right and I think most guys that work in the c of c at this point would admit it. It’s good to have guys like Walter Surdacki (lipscomb) teaching the next generation of youth leaders.

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