Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Youth Ministry 3.0
I just got finished with this book by the president of youth specialties - Mark Oestreicher. I was taken back at his honest report about students and church. According to Mark 8 of 10 students in the church after graduation never return.. never. It isn't possible to sum it all up because it was one of those books that doesn't start repeating itself after the first chapter. If you are in youth work I highly recommend you stop what you're doing and go get a copy of this book. It is depressing and highly hopeful all at the same time.
Mark says that Adolescence used to be from 14.5-16 years of age giving our grandparents back in the holler a whopping 15-18 months to prepare for full on contributing adulthood. Today adolescence starts as early as 10.5 and can go into the mid to late 20's. That is a 15-18 year prep before a "kid" feels as if she is really contributing to society.
Youth Ministry 3.0 is as you guessed it opposed to YM 1.0 and 2.0. Not that these "paradigms" of youth ministry weren't appropriate for their times but have become outdated and widely practiced amid dramatic drops in effectiveness.
1.0 driven by a need for Identity (who am I?), formed after turn of the century (1900's), main model - proclamation and correction.
2.0 driven by a need for Autonomy (What will I contribute?), formed around 1960's-new millennium, main model - discipleship and positive peer groups
3.0 driven by Affinity (to what and whom do I belong?), formed after new millennium, main model - community and mission.
The need for identity and autonomy are still very present but are formed through students having their answers to affinity answered. This is about the 10th time I have heard that people today are in need of two conversions instead of one. First a conversion to belonging, second a conversion ot believing.
The only problem is that if we institute this new paradigm as a program we will be left very disappointed because it will be viewed as "forced community". This new outlook on relationships will in one part be very positive for the church because it is forcing us out back into our community to establish REAL relationships with those disconnected from real Christian Community.