Over the next few months, I am attempting to offer some “shifts” in the way youth ministry can be done. Some will be practical approaches and tangible changes, while others border the philosophical and theological realm of student ministry.
The main idea is that we need to shift away from certain modes of thought and operation (such as being program driven, attraction oriented, exclusive, isolated, big, hierarchical, etc…) and move towards new ways. Read A New Kind of Youth Ministry by Chris Folsmbee for a good philosophical transitionally approach.
I will try to discuss practical applications and implications of such transitions in an actual youth ministry setting.
Many of these appear to be in direct contrast to former ideas, and some are clearly and intentionally just that. I believe there to be potential danger in living fully on one side or the other. Therefore, what I propose is a shift away from one and towards the other, hopefully arriving at a middle ground that leaves the doors of communication open on both ends.
Some of the “shifts” I will be proposing will be:
From Missions to Missional
From Narrow to Generous theology
From Big to Small
From Sacred to Secular
From Centralized to De-Centralized
From Separatists to Collaborators/Partners
From Exclusive to Inclusive
From Big to Small
From Agenda-Driven to Presence Focused
From Conversions to Conversations
From Spiritual Knowledge to Spiritual Formation
From Church to Neutral “Third” Places
From Facts to Experience/Encounter
From Apologetics to Storytelling
From Witnessing to Loving
From Orthodoxy to Orthopraxy
From Evangelical to Emergent
I am going to number these shifts, but there is no particular order. I am not saying that Shift #1 is more or less important than Shift #10.
Also, I am hoping for comments and ideas on how you have worked out some of these shifts in your own ministry. I have some examples but would prefer to post your thoughts on the practical application and implication of these shifts.