Okay, I can barely contain myself... There is an amazing discussion going on about the future of youth ministry here. I highly recommend reading all five parts, and I ressonate most with parts 3-5. In fact, if you only have 20 minutes, stop reading my blog and read Marko's. (seriously, do it) Marko asked a simple question to people "smarter than him" who are either studying or practicing youth minsitry or both. "The future of youth ministry.." The link above contains their answers and the discussion that follows.
I think that the future of youth ministry is about connecting students with adults who are vulnerably modeling and sharing their faith, and about providing spaces for teenagers to process, think through, and own the deeper questions about Christianity. I am not saying anything new, or anything that was not already said in the discussion in these blogs or in the flurry of articles, websites, books and research projects pouring out about just this subject. I am more or less expounding on several of the directions mentioned: intergenerational ministry, parents, and discipleship, and, of course, anything said by Kenda Creasy Dean.
These values have often been part of youth minsitry, but youth ministry the way it is structured now does not provide a place for these sorts of relationships and discussions. One of the comments on Marko's blog called it an age-based grotto. This is exactly why I am excited to be part of revamping the way we are doing youth ministry at Trinity Community Church. Are we sure that what we are doing and how we are doing it is the right way? no. We are sure that youth minsitry needs to shift in order to accomodate shifting needs. Needs that have shifted. So, we are moving our small groups into homes, geopgraphically based communities, and we are placing young men and women with adult leaders in those groups. In so doing we are intentionally getting students in the homes of Christian adults from our church, and connecting them with adults who are living out their faith, and creating an atmosphere where adolescents can connect with other Christians their age. I think that these are great steps toward connecting students with adults who are vulnerably modeling and sharing their faith and about providing spaces for teenagers to process, think through and own the deeper questions about Christianity.