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Saturday, February 21, 2004

A lot of youthworkers I've been talking to would like to rethink how they do youth ministry, but the peer pressure is so high to continue "the game". Part of this is rethinking the church, and I think part of this is the need for professional fellowship-- if your local peers are comparing apples, it's hard to be an orange. Here's my experience at a See You At The Pole rally:

typical goateed youthworker: how many do YOU have in YOUR group?

me: about 40.

typical goateed youthworker: ...oh so a small one then?

me: (feeling defensive) not compared to the 6 youth they had a year ago when I started here, or the other churches of my denomination in this area which have less... (already, I'm wondering why this is an issue for me... I am frequently quoted as wanting numbers not to count. Why do I care?)

typical goateed youthworker: well we are having a sloppy ice cream fight on the church lawn next saturday, you're welcome to bring everyone over.

me: (thinking "does he mean we aren't good enough to do our own ice cream fight? wait, I don't believe in throwing ice cream... and why am I worried? what has this profession done to cause us to count and compare like this?!") thanks, but I think a few of us are going frisbee golfing.

typical goateed youthworker: (while waving/pointing at all the youth he knows like a celebrity) ok, bra.

me: (thinking "bra?") "ok, later." (waving at all the youth I know, making sure not to act like a celebrity but realizing I'm trapped in the same stupid cult-of-personality model that this other guy is in, and here I am putting HIM down in my mind?)

There's something about this game that is quite difficult to stop playing. There's such a powerful assumption out there that if you're a youthworker, you play the game. The numbers game. The program game. The "success" game. If we treat our youthworkers like "coordinators" "officers" or "directors", the game begins. But it's not just in a name. A rose by any other name is still a rose. It seems like we have to go to the cellular level of "church" and flip a switch somewhere-- change something really fundamental; something dogmatic, but fundamental nonetheless to how "the Church" got into "the game" in the first place.

But what worries me most? What if that switch is consumerism? How do you change a consumer?

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Reformation of youth ministry... Are we on the right track? Mark mentioned on his blog yesterday about Calvin and reforming the church. I think that it is not only the youth ministry that needs to take a hard look inside itself, but the church as a whole. This may be arrogant (and I know that it does- and who the hell am I to be arrogant) but I think that the church could actually learn a lot from the model of youth ministry. I am not talking programs or fly by the seat youth pastors or crazy game nights either. I am talking about the kind of community that is built within youth ministry and connections made between youth and between youth and adults. How can that type of community become a reality in the church across the different ministries taking place? Is that even a possibility?

I also think that there is confusion about what we are calling church- and it is not a large group of people meeting once a week on Sunday morning for worship.... not much time right now, so I will come back to that in my next post- or feel free to continue the conversation without me.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Just wanted to howdy to everyone! :)

Things for me have been a complete battle lately. Although I have seen blessings in the midst of steping down and not being the Youth Chic. Its funny, we have built community with two of our youth and it has been so much more benefical for them and us. Although I am disappionted that we haven't been able to bridge with the other kids. Its a work in progress though.

Anyway, glad to see y'all still plugging away! Blessings..............Jewels