Seismos pt. 6 – Inquiry #1 – keys to the future of Youth Ministry

picture-65Seismos 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 eighth post (intro, first, second, third, highlight video, fourth, fifth posts), we’re looking at the first of four questions we really dug into.What is the heart/foundation of the future of youth ministry?

-presence (holistic…not just “there”, but reaching a deeper, larger connection)
-communion (pg. 74, 106)
-deliberate intentionality
-kingdom view/understanding (what’s the point…the destination or the journey?)
-centrality of Jesus & his story
-stories creating affinity (while also grabbing identity and autonomy)
-fluidity/organic vs. programmatic (Farmer’s Market vs. WalMart)

One of the things that Marko mentioned in his book was that youth ministry 3.0 should be “not-driven” (whereas the other versions of youth ministry had drivers…see page 77 & 78).  As we discussed this, many of us weren’t really fans of “not-driven.”  Not-driven feels apathetic.  I’m not suggesting that Marko was intending that…it’s just our response to the verbiage.  At one point he says “that metaphoric language (of driven) might work for herds of cattle, but it doesn’t work for a fluid, missional community.”  I couldn’t help but think that this sort of rejects the whole shepherding terminology we find in the Scriptures.  If everything is “not driven”, is there room for intentionality or directional guidance?  Over-programming can surely be unproductive and even hurt us.  But to have some plan/program doesn’t mean that has to be the driver of your heart and motivation.  Is there a middle ground between “driven” & “not-driven”?  What if it was Spirit-driven?  This was suggested hesitantly, because over-spiritualizing it won’t help and also because this could be seen as leaning in a particular theological direction (which is not the point)…so we say Spirit-driven embracing the organic nature of how the Spirit works but acknowledging he also has sovereignty and plans and dreams for our lives.  Perhaps that we allow for God to be in control but not blaming God for everything.  I’m doing my best to unpack the conversation that we had around this which was very good…and I’m interested to hear if others present would add or take away from what I said & also to hear from people that weren’t there how they react.

And, to be fair, Marko did proceed to say that “presence” was replacing the drivenness…which we generally agree with, though you’ll notice the additions we had to it in our list above, which were similar to why Marko used communion and not just community, I think.


4 Responses to Seismos pt. 6 – Inquiry #1 – keys to the future of Youth Ministry

  1. Joe Troyer says:

    well said. although i can do without the word driven. lol.shepherds lead not drive.

  2. Sounds like a good time of analysis.

    I can’t help but notice that your conversation is very similar to the one I’m having about “creating organic environments.” Check out the posts. I would love to hear your take as it applies to the youth culture, since our generation and below are the ones that are ready to embrace the organic nature of life.

    Also, I noticed that you brought up the concept of “age-ism” and wanting to overcome it in the church. Any conclusions on that?

  3. […] seismos 2010 Last year in April, I was able to be part of a challenging and encouraging 3-day gathering of youth pastors at Camp Carl in Ravenna, OH, discussing the future of youth ministry.  We used Mark Oestreicher’s “Youth Ministry 3.0″ as our base text for the time and had a series of discussions that considered what the various shifts in culture, adolescence, church, and families meant to us and to our youth ministries. (you can see my series of blog posts on these here) […]

  4. […] (later posts: pt 1, pt 2, pt 3, pt 4, pt 5, pt 6) […]

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