All the discussion around the challenges of discipleship and youth ministry, new paradigms and what mission ‘looks like’ in our culture got me thinking about …………………. Star Trek and how the old Star Trek and the New can represent approaches to youth ministry.
Stay with me on this one!
If you remember the old Star Trek? The one with Captain James T.Kirk, you’ll remember that it was quite straight forward (at least in my memory). The plot basically being that every week the Enterprise encountered some alien race, as part of this encounter Captain Kirk would either end up hitting or kissing the alien depending on its attractiveness or nastiness quotient. (There was, I admit one confusing episode in which he kissed a good looking alien that later turned out to be nasty and be able to change it’s form, so he hit it). In my analogy this, single plot, simplicity of approach is akin to the model of youth ministry I grew up with, a predictable always the same model approach i.e You ran a group in which faith was lived and discussed, the young people invited friends to join the group and this kind of worked.
Springing forward to the era of Jean Luc Picard as captain of the Enterprise and things got a LOT more complicated. You had a reflective approach to situations, attempts at understanding the culture of the races encountered and a spiriritual life on board the ship. Analogy being obvious in that we are in a lot more complex arena for Youth Ministry and the response requires more thought, understanding and experiment as well as the need for spiritual life to be at the heart of who we are and what we do!
It seems to me that the Church often still thinks in a Kirk-esque fashion while Youth ministry has/needs a more Picard like approach, but that can be hampered by the throw back to the Kirk regime. My analogy is also based around thinking that different contexts require different answers not the one size, snog it or hit it, linear approach.
May we continue to Boldly go!