Thursday, April 14, 2011

End of the launch period

For those of you who are not aware, we are shifting the way we do youth minsitry at my church, and we just finished the 6 week launch period. Because of things like youth rallys and fundrasiers and Easter (you know, no big deal) we are taking a month off from regular youth group. This affords me a little room to breathe, to think, and to evaluate. Deep Breath. We did it! What did we do, exactly? It is the beginning of something, but I am not sure what. Just a new model here at my church? A new model in general? Paricipating in the large shift that is the changing form of youth ministry? I dearly hope it is the latter.

There is no real way of knowing at this point. That is frustrating. But, on the other hand, I think that my need to understand it comes more out of weakness than really wanting vision. The vision is clear: youth minsitry cannot continue the way it has been for the last 60 years. The model is no longer effective at meeting the spiritual needs of adolescents. We are in a time of cultural upheaval, and in that time people's needs shift, the delivery systems for taking in truth and love shift, and therefore those who seek to shepherd, nuture, and serve those around them must shift as well.

Things are changing so quickly I don't have a grasp on everything that is different, and I am far from understanding what it means. Social networking takes away much of the distinction between public and private lives. Communication and travel advances make mean that the world is available through media, knowledge and experience. This means that it is possible to evaluate our understanding of race, culture, ecnomics, morality, and spirituality in light of global considerations. What happens in the stock market in Japan affects a homeowner two blocks away from me in Libertyville, IL. Now, imagine that you are 15 and in a world that is changing this fast- and that it is just normal. This is just the way it is.

What would you grab onto to center yourself? Where would you look for answers about larger questions: Am I loved? What does it mean to be alive? Is there truth? If so, where? and how do you know? I can imagine that I could look just about anywhere-but where do I start? How do I know which information to trust? This world is so much different than the one that I knew even 15 years ago in high school. The world is changing and youth ministry must, too. We just launched a 6 week trial period of something that I hope is the beginning of entering into that change. God help us. Jesus it is for You. Spirit, we need You.

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