One conversation I had many times this past weekend was about how to “rethink” the way we do youth ministry. While many people have been rethinking youth ministry for awhile, it’s still a pretty hot topic among some of my recent seminary graduate friends.
This is something I struggle with a lot – my desire to really rethink youth ministry and what it could look like. There is part of me that feels the weight and burden of having two Princeton Seminary degrees, one being in Youth Ministry; I feel that with all my training and education, I should be doing some really creative new form of youth ministry. Right now, I feel like I’m just doing youth ministry as it’s always been done and as I’ve always led it. Yet, whenever I sit down to think about how to put together a new type of youth ministry – a youth ministry ‘out-of-the-box’ – I end up just thinking about programs. “What new program can I start up?” or “What new type of program can I add to our youth ministry…what would be cool?”
My real desire is not to create additional programs for the youth of our church, but that’s where I typically start when I try to think about how to re-do things in our youth ministry program. I’m not interested in creating a youth ministry that is so full of activities and cool things to do that youth just have “one more thing” to try and schedule into their already crazy lives.
So, I’m trying to think “outside-the-box.” I was talking to some friends this weekend about this, and I started to wonder, “What would a program-less youth ministry look like?” I don’t want a youth ministry that is focused on programs – so what would it look like for a youth ministry to be program-less? Is it possible? What would it look like?