Thursday, January 10, 2008

Theological Youth Ministry

Something about youth ministry that is not very good or interesting is the lack of depth to it. Instead it is about playing games and getting kids into the church. Yeah it is good the kids are in church but what comes next is weak. They just do what any P.E. course does. PE sometimes does it better too. Youth need to be challenged more.

One way to challenge youth more is to actually teach them theology and the bible. One tells youth about sin. Not just a simple message of sin is bad and don’t do it, but sin separates people from God and leads to death. Then teach the youth about the sacrifice Jesus made for humanity. Youth are able to handle some theology. A High school student may be intrigued by the immanence of God and the Transcendce of god. What happens is a youth can start to use the mental capabilities they use at school on their religion.

Youth do not need to be coddled. They are not stupid. School work generally gets more complicated as time progresses. Youth need to be challenge to something deeper then they are experiencing now. Sometimes Christianity is made to easy for the youth. It is something that is just handed to them. Why keep Christianity so safe? They go to college and they face a world of hedonistic pleasure without a secure base. Where in youth ministry do with talk about the spiritual and theological ramifications of drinking? Where do we talk about the psychological and theological meanings of sex before marriage. Instead we just say that it is wrong. Youth go to college and find out that drinking can be a very enjoyable social experience. Some may have sex and then find out it feels good. That they do not feel bad for having sex outside of marriage. Then what they were told in their youth ministries is partly invalidating. These students have been left out without a solid reasoning and foundation. As a ministry there needs to be thoughts and reasons behind the lessons instead of a mentality that promotes legal rules based on authoritarian traditions.

This does not mean we use abstract reasoning with middles school students but instead that youth ministry combines the benefits and positive elements of theology and then combine that with street level ministry. There can be a new movement towards helping youth become lifelong Christians that will influence the communities they live in.

1 comment:

Dan said...

I think there's a lot of truth to what you're saying.

It has often been said that youth will always rise to the challenges placed in front of them. I believe it. As much as you put in front of middle and high schoolers, they'll get it done.

At a camp I worked at the leadership needed to remove two large volleyball poles from the ground. They were deep in there and were weighted by concrete. So, what did we do? During activity time we made a boys vs. girls contest to see who could remove their pole the fastest. And within two hours, with mostly their bare hands, the 13 total campers got it done.

Granted, that's not intellectual, but they did something that was definitely not an easy task. And they did it well.

You make a good point when you say that maybe they'll find drinking a positive social experience. There's got to be a lot more to ministry than the list of do's and don'ts.

I think you're on a good path.

Tell Paisly I say, "hi."