I worked with the youth of my church for almost 7 years. While I don’t regret the service, I wonder sometimes about depth of the faith I helped to cultivate. To often it was about trying to create excitement and substance fell to the wayside.
Several years after working with church youth I became a junior high/high school teacher. I remember watching the students in my classes, awkwardly try to live out and share their faith through the same gimmicky methods I taught as a youth worker. Though I strove to encourage the faith of students in that public setting (usually indirectly- it was a public school), inwardly I cringed at their tactics and at the marked difference from their “evangelism” persona and “normal” personas.
This is not to say that youth groups and youth ministry are bad, I came out of them. That is my Christian heritage, its just we can be so much better. Often our ministry created a sub-culture Christianity that failed to cultivate youth into life of the Church. And though the Church has lots of problems it is the body of Christ- we need one another to continue in the faith.
Anyway that is a long and rambling introduction to Jon Wasson’s post on”radical” youth ministry. It is well worth the read for anyone that is interested in or have worked with youth ministry. Read about it here: sic transit gloria – ordinary..