Friday, May 25, 2007
The Bob Barker of Youth Ministry.
Bob Barker has been on TV for over 50years; 35 of those with CBS' The Price Is Right. A gameshow based upon gimmicks and the chances to win and play some game to win Big Bucks. I had even seen Bob's Finale with Adam Sandler making a Guest Appearance.
So this got me thinking that we have lots of Bob Barkers of Youth Ministry out there. What does that mean?
Well ...before Purpose Driven YM, before the baseball diamond model of youth ministry there was the funnel. You had the Crowd - all the way up to Disciples of Jesus - each time the funnel getting smaller and the Crowd being the Big opening of the Funnel.
It seems to me that some Youth Workers want to be Bob Barker. Oh, they would say they want disciples of Jesus - but they really want everyone to like them - so they have Fun and Games and try to attract as many people as possible to the Big Show.
Thus they use I-pod giveaways; retreats, visits to the local amusement park, "Christian" concerts ... all in the name of Jesus but the focus tends to be on those things rather than on Jesus.
It makes the parents happy too because now they don't have to babysit their kids, nor entertain them. As long as the Youth Minister is being "Bob Barker" and pleasing everyone - there isn't any conflict.
The problem is the church and youth ministry isn't called to be the Next Bob Barker nor youth fun and games but requires some (Spading as Bob would say) balance in the idea that we are making disciples and better disciples of Jesus.
Can we have Fun and Games in our Youth Ministry? Sure! As long as it isn't the primary focus. Someone needs to tell some of our Young Youthworkers to Stop Trying to be the Bob Barker of Youth Ministry and instead be Who God has called you to be .... to love Him and love those students.