Sunday, August 15, 2010

Missional Advocacy

USA Today recently ran a story addressing issues facing youth ministers.  Mark Ostreicher weighed in with his perspective, which (of course) led to several comments on his blog.  Joe Mele offered a blurb that caught my attention:




Imagine a youth minister that had no contact with teens. Instead their contact was with adults within the community whose gifts and talents are transformed into moments of apostolic opportunities of disciple based mentoring and formation. Instead of visiting high schools, the youth ministers visits parents in their communities to discuss adolescent discipleship and praying with children. Instead of mission trip, the youth minister coordinates opportunities for families to sign up and serve within the local community. Missiological advocacy focuses on holding up a vision of discipleship not just for adolescent but for the entire community to be a congregation of active disciples of Jesus Christ in the world today.




Is it possible for a youth minister to be an adult-equipper and not a teen-buddy?  


Should youth ministers get out of the business of doing relational ministry and start talking to parents, grandparents, etc. about how to relate to the young people in their midst?  


Can a youth minister speak have credibility with other adults if they aren't "in the trenches" with young people on a regular basis?

5 comments:

  1. Brian MiddleswarthAugust 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    In answering your three questions I would pose one more, "Which is going to be most effective; training, encouraging, equpping adults in their ministry to young people or ministering directly to those young people?"

    I can only relate well to, what, 10 maybe 20 youth? But if I do the same thing to 10-20 adults and they relate well to 10-20 youth...

    I think we need people who do both things, but the relationship with other adults and calling them to our God given (through baptism) vocation to apprentice children and youth in the faith is something we have neglected.

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  2. I like what Joe says... but one person can't do it all, and secondly if the youth minister works directly with a specific teens parents... that teens-youth minister connection will be compromised. In Joe's model, a 2 person team might be the solution, each doing half outreach to adults, and half to teens.

    The other thing to consider, is how many parents want their kids to have a good moral peer group to hang with, in contrast with their teen really growing in discipleship? Disciples are scary folks.

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  3. >Is it possible for a youth minister to be an adult-equipper and not a teen-buddy?

    First, forget this "youth minister" term and expand it to all people within the church who volunteer their time to "work" with youth....

    Second, IMHO it is not a question of possible because it is what we should be doing.

    >Should youth ministers get out of the business of doing relational ministry and start talking to parents, grandparents, etc. about how to relate to the young people in their midst?

    No. Relational ministry is not only for youth but for all humans regardless of age and religious affiliation.

    >Can a youth minister speak have credibility with other adults if they aren't "in the trenches" with young people on a regular basis?

    Yes, because to believe otherwise is to be so arrogant you are causing harm to the youth and the adults. This arrogance puts a barrier between adults and youth.

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