Sunday, July 12, 2009
My Frustration with Current Youth Ministry
I was at the Gospel Coalition a couple of months back. Lots of pastor's who love the Gospel; the incarnation, the sinless life of Jesus and his obedience to death on a cross as a penal substitution for our sins, His resurrection that triumphed over death and the grave and the fact that He is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf and that He will return again as King.That Gospel. Anyway, I met a few youth pastors, this is not a blog about them.
I felt a little bit like an outsider at this conference, although I was in a good percentage of the age bracket of those in attendance. Being in youth ministry and being a Calvinist (yeah I said it), proposes all kinds of challenges. Mainly because deep thinking and theology (of that kind) are not held in high regard within most youth ministry circles and the trendiness of youth ministry things are not looked at favorably among those who run in the "Gospel Coalition" circles. It seems to me that there are not very many Calvinistic/reformed leadership in the area of popular youth ministry. I have trouble bringing the world of Keller, Carson and Piper (for example) into youth ministry. I long for youth ministry to feel the weight of the Glory of God. And at the same time I feel like I don't have time to play around. Am I stretching my calling or do i need to suck it up and play a game or two?
I love to preach God's Word. I purposefully use the word preach because "teach" is not what I mean. I think there is an unspoken expectation in youth ministry to "teach" youth God's Word but don't preach to them. I have been "preaching" angrily on Sunday nights. My wife said that I have been saying, "you should" do this or that more than I have been salting my speech with grace. Some of that I admit was coming from a place of authority to call them to purity and accountability. But I wonder if sometimes I am too hard or bring heat when I should bring light.
This is my frustration: That there is the expectation that youth ministry should be fun and trivial and that young people cannot handle hard truths and commands from Scripture and meanwhile they are leaving our churches.
I am thinking out loud. Any thoughts?