Three approaches to youth ministry

re-reading Growing Souls by Yaconelli and am really struck by this exploration of three different approaches to Youth Minstry, I’m especially spotting some ‘ouch’ in the “content” column:
3approaches yaconelli.jpg

3 Replies to “Three approaches to youth ministry”

  1. Would it be too radical to say I’m not sure it’s a very helpful characterisation of youth ministry? To me it seems it seems just a bit smug; written from the perspective that non-directional ministry is the gold standard and any other approach is flawed. Do we not believe that God is truth, God is love and God is judge? If we do it will inevitably lead to a blended approach to youth ministry. So on occasions I hope we might have the courage to proclaim the absolute truth of a gospel that denies the lies of fulfilment found through consumerism, decries the objectification of women in our society, and brings a firm hope of life eternal found in Jesus Christ.
    I’m not sure I’ve come across people in Christian youth ministry who have deliberately set out to deliver only a consumerist or content approach to youth ministry. Sure, I’ve fallen into to those approaches through oversight or laziness but essentially pretty much all those I’ve come across in youth ministry have wanted young people to discover a life-changing relationship in Jesus Christ.
    Rant over. Discuss!

  2. David,
    No not too radical of you at all, thanks for your thoughts, good to hear from you.
    I think maybe I should have written a little more around it. If it was sitting in judgment it would indeed be smug … and I agree that no-one sets out to deliver those models.
    I think though I read it more positively as a polarisation to help us see when unconscious assumptions are at play. Maybe I found it useful as I encounter a lot of informational approach to what christianity is (and yes I agree, from a great motivation). I regularly get asked “What do we need to teach them?” or “How do we hold on to them?”. My work is helping churches to take their well meaning motivation and find ways to live, explore, journey in faith with young people that is body, mind, soul and strength …. not just mind.
    The way that I read it is around an approach that flows primary from the internalised experience (that absolutely calls for truth, justice etc) rather than chiefly external adherance.
    I can see why it might have pressed some buttons though and I apologise for not writing more of this in the post. Your counter-point though has been a helpful challenge to the way I might explore this. Thank you

  3. I think all three are indicative of where students are, so in some ways you have to have a multi-dimensional ministry model that includes all three of the above. For example, I was talking to one of my junior girls and she said she was glad our bible study had regained some of its depth now that some younger kids had left. And these younger kids are the ones that blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, so they’re more on the lines of activities and such. I guess that one of the three by itself could be too narrowly focused to reach all students.

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