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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Growing Christ Centred Youth

This is a topic I find incredibly challenging. A big part of what I do involves youth. I work for an organisation called Mission Australia for part of the week where I run a youth drug and alcohol program and the other part of the week for my church where part of what I do involves youth ministry.

Unfortunately I don't have many, if any, answers to any questions in this area, but I do have a lot of questions.

1) How do we grow/disciple youth in a way that is biblically grounded and "deep" in a culture that seems to think it needs entertainment?

2) How do we get youth that are churched or do profess a committment to Christ to look beyond their own needs (this is one area in which I think the EC is failing - it seems to be very "consumer driven" - more on this later).

3) How do we effectively reach unchurched kids in a way that is going to lead them into relationship with Jesus Christ? I certainly don't find it hard to get involved in non-Christian kids lives - I do it everyday and have great relationships with many of them - but I have no idea how to get them to think seriously about eternity.

4) Is it too much to expect this (see question 3)in the teenage years?

5) Why is most youth ministry in my area geared to music, entertainment and crappy, shallow, fluffy "teaching" and why does everyone think this is the "ducks guts" (Aussie slang for "good stuff")?

And finally;

6) What does it mean when we say "the problem with youth ministry isn't that we expect too much of our youth, but that we expect too little"? I hear it, I like it, but what does this look like?

3 comments:

Victor Kaonga said...

Tough questions you have raised. While the issues you have highlighted may have to do more with a developed country, I find similar challenges in emerging youth ministry. I have been a producer for youth programmes and I agree it is not easy to "deepen" the faith of youths. But one thing I have tried to do is to invest my time, resources and prayers into a few that I know God has led me to. Work with those few and pray that God uses them to impact others. It can be frustrating yes but who said God's Word goes back to Him without achieving anything?

The Creature said...

Hi Victor,

Your comments pretty much reflect where I am currently at! I guess in a lot of ways this is new ground for me and I am, at times, distracted by some big entertainment driven youth groups in nearby towns - they have the numbers but I don't know they have the depth. We certainly don't have the numbers but I really want to make sure we have the depth!

Where abouts in the world are you Victor? I was pondering the trans-global similarities we all seem to be facing at the moment when it comes to these issues. I do some work in Rwanda in Africa and notice similarities (many differences too) to the things we face. In the developing world the distraction of wealth isn't an issue - rather it's the distraction of poverty! The enemy will use whatever he can to distract people for Jesus Christ!

Cheers,

Andrew in Oz

Mully said...

Hi Andrew,

This is subject that has me thinking also. I am on the same wavelength as yourself.

Have you heard of PYLC? - Perth Youth Leadership Conference. It happens every year in January and seeks to answer these questions and give productive training and teaching for effective youth ministry.

I have been to three of the four/five years it has been running and can't rate it highly enough. Check out www.ccowa.org and follow the links.