I have been thinking alot about this lately. Since returning to 'work', I have begun wondering about how ministry to youth in this community and church needs to change to be more authentic to the mandate of Christ. One of the topics I have been wrestling with is this:
According to some stats (who beleives these things anymore) - we lose 80% of the kids in our youth program after grade 12. They stop being connected with church. That is a terrible attrition rate. All too often the reason seems to be that younger people don't find thier experience of church measures up to their experiences in a youth group. Plus kids are more mobile and transient so they put down less roots. etc. etc.
Youth ministry is notorious for trying to be culturally sensitive with the idea that this will help make thier ministry more effective. Great. But what if that same cultural sensitivity is not embraced by the "BIG" church they are supposed to graduate to...
Recently I read a review of Mark Yaconelli's book and ran across some interesting perspectives on this topic.
Here's a quote:
"Do I create a versionized liturgy/program/worship service/small group (etc. etc.) that is so alien to the wider expression of church life that my students spend the rest of their life feeling homesick for the “good ole’ days”?"
That comment brought me up short. Am I (this ministry) the problem? Don C. Richter says that we should not expect the burden of accomodation to fall to our young people. So then who should change?
Should we change youth ministry so that it looks more like BIG church or should it be the other way around? Dixon suggested that it probably is both.
I also found this interesting quote from Katie Funk Wiebe. She an older ex-school teacher who I think sorta gets this whole topic...
"What liberates an older adult from the win/lose mentality when winning on society’s terms isn’t a possibility?
I see the submission of servanthood as the only answer. The essence of this servanthood is to become good at losing, at making room for others, especially the younger generation, to be the winners. This ability enables elders to resist seeing this younger group as threats to their authority or ominous signs that they’re being set aside."
So that's what is pounding through my brain this morning. Any thoughts?