I am a youth pastor struggling to find my identity as both a person and minister in an ever-changing social and religious environment. I have been in youth ministry about ten years now, and have made many mistakes and (hopefully) have learned some valuable lessons.
I am still trying to figure out how to do youth ministry, or better stated, how to serve and minister to adolescents in my context. I do not have a huge program, budget, staff, or anything else that seems to go with “successful” youth ministry…and I really don’t see that changing in the future.
So, rather than striving for success, I desire health, passion, and purpose.
I read many books on youth ministry development, philosophy, strategy, etc.. yet often feel very disconnected from the authors because my situation and context seem so different from his or hers.
So, I write as one youth worker to another, sharing similar struggles, questions, joys, frustrations, hopes, dreams, fears, and vision. I am still in the daily trenches of youth ministry. I still have to deal with retreats, lock-ins, angry parents, smelly vans, dirty carpets, low budgets, ministry envy, and “higher ups” who just don’t get it.
Yet I remain (or try to remain) faithful to my calling and faithful to my students because I truly believe God is at work. I have hope that he will engage us all in this process of see students come to know the transformative work of Jesus as they partner with God in pursuing his mission in and through them.
That is why I write.
The reason for the name of this blog is that I believe that youth ministry here in the North East (among many other places) needs to transition, change, or “emerge” into something else. I don’t believe we need a re-do, but rather need to rethink what we do, why we do it, and how we do much of traditional youth ministry..especially within the structures of denominations and local church bodies.
I also chose those words because I have witnessed a fast growing move into post-modernity and am trying to figure out the implications of emergent theology into pragmatic and practical ministry.
I see myself as both a missiologist and missionary to postmodern adolescents, and this has huge implications for the way I think about and approach youth ministry. The world around us in changing at a rapid rate (as displayed in the video). We must grapple with these changes and what they mean for the future of the students and societies we minister in…and ultimately for the future of youth ministry.
So there you have it! I look forward to many conversations as we take this journey of discovery together.
Let’s shift the way we think about youth ministry in the future!