Seismos is a gathering of 17 youth leaders from 4 states & 15 churches representing over 9 different denominations. We met for three days (April 20-22, 2009) to dig into what the future of youth ministry might be. Mark Oestreicher’s “Youth Ministry 3.0” formed the leaping off point for our discussion (many of our thoughts will make more sense if you’ve read it). On this seventh post (intro, first, second, third, highlight video, fourth posts), we’ve (finally) arrived at the point where we were ready to pick some topics to drill into more specifically.
We broke up into 3 groups, each armed with the list of questions we had initially raised as well as the conversations that we had already had related to the good parts of YM 1.0 & 2.0. Each group was given the task of bringing back two questions that we would discuss, leaving us six questions total to plow through in the time we had left (we were about halfway through our retreat at this point). The six questions we settled on were as follows (some combined/extrapolated/expanded from the original list):
- What is the heart/foundation of the next wave of youth ministry (YM 3.0)?
- How is the transition we’re feeling in youth ministry a reflection of change going on in the rest of the church (if at all)? Does this correlate at all with Newsweek/blog/etc articles currently circulating? Is the need for change positive, negative, or neutral?
- What are the key pieces of youth ministry that should be shared by all, regardless of cultural shifts, denominational beliefs, or personal ministry giftings/preferences? In other words, what are the dogma (what we all agree on should drive everything), doctrine (things that we disagree on, but believe others should agree with us on) & opinion (areas we know are generally personal preference) of youth ministry practice (not theology).
- Is program really a dirty word? What part does planning/organization/structure/etc play in the next wave of youth ministry?
- How does the age bracket shift in adolescence affect what we do? What parts of the cultural definition of adolescence do we buy into and what parts do we push back on? How are we going to help students navigate adolescence and then leave adolescence at the appropriate time apart from culture but in touch with reality?
- How do we keep/make these priorities that we desire in YM 3.0 without “siloing” (separating/disconnecting) ourselves away from the rest of the church?
We only made it through 4 of these questions and so I’ll post thoughts from our discussion on each question and then close with a final post of resources that we shared with each other at our last meeting.