Thursday, January 08, 2004

Youth Pastor Example Vital

My friend Mykel Pickens posted this to the YP Listserve and it really spoke to me. It is an article by Mark Riddle. My only question is, if I realize the truth to this article (and BOY do I) how do I make it better?

The Future of Youth Ministry

The future of youth ministry as we know it must have it's first change in the way the youth pastor lives.
It is easy for youth pastors to fall into the trap of their ministry being exclusively to youth, but this is not healthy for the youth pastor, or the students in which she serves.
Youth pastors want kids to develop friendships with people who don't follow Jesus, they want students to be in church every week, they want students to be in small groups and to have mentoring relationships with older adults and they want them to be submissive to the authorities in their lives.. namely their parents.

The problem is that most youth pastors are paid to go to church, they don't know anyone their own age who's not a christian, they don't like small groups they participate in, they lack a real mentoring relationship with an older adult and they struggle with submitting to the authority of their church.

For healthy ministry to happen to and with students in the future, youth pastors must begin in this place. It's easy for youth workers to point their fingers at churches and tell them where they are going wrong, where they lack community, or Godliness, or passion or whatever. It is far more difficult for them to do the hard work of the personal issues.

My new friend Mark DeVries in Nashville calls this "making peace with mama".

I call it coming to terms with the reality of the church and having the humility to see that you can't change it.

Character of the youth pastor is the beginning of a healthy youth ministry.

so .. Youth pastor
are you committed to placing yourself in environments where you develop relationships with people who are not following Jesus? People your age.

Are you committed to biblical community for yourself not just your students?
So you wouldn't attend this church if you weren't paid to go. Quit whining and create a community that does make sense that you can fit into. You are a follower of Jesus, you tell your kids that's what they should do... why won't you?

Are you committed to kids or programs? Are you willing to have programs if it means reaching kids? Are you willing to abandon programs if it means you will be more faithful?

Are you willing to take the hits that will come your way when you desire change? Will you have a humility to allow the church to be God's and not yours? Will you be ok if it doesn't go your way?

Summary of the above.
Be the church first, before you ask your students to be it. that what integrity is.

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