Friday, October 12, 2007

Youth Ministry Progression

So with the history of Youth Ministry basically starting with Bible Clubs etc in the 19th Century and 20th Century. I would say some of the Youth for Christ rallies helped usher in the the progression of youth ministry with their ideas of programs.

I. Programs: It started with the idea to reach students, but also babysit our "kids"
The idea of Campus life and other "Youth rallies" from the 50s/60s went from parachurch to church hiring their own youth ministers to look after the teens down to the little children. The problem became it was a more about "US" and the Holy Huddle than any outreach.

II. Professionalism: with the start of some good curriculum and youth programs in the 70s/ 80s - the youth ministry era of babysitting was getting to be more professional in the 90s with now specialized Youth Ministries in Children/ Middle School/ High School/ College age students. Masters and PHD degrees in Youth Ministry were rare to find and even some Academic research on the topic. The Youth Minister was no longer the Babysitter and "Lone Ranger" but seen as the youth specialist and equipper to help others run the programs. Youth Ministry Academia was to be taken seriously. Several youth ministry "specialists" were now teaching with PHDs in our colleges in universities about the value of youth ministry.

III. Post-Youth Ministry: there will be less people focusing on the spiritual mountain top experiences of youth conferences and retreats. Sure these things have value and some youth ministries will still be doing the program and professionalism of youth ministry but the change will go from a focus on soley one aspect of a church age group to that of church community. I think there will be more Social Justice issues addressed by the church as a whole. More Service projects as families and the church community as a whole. There will no longer be a need for "Youth Ministry" on one age group but back to almost a restoration of focusing on the Church Family as a whole. With this shift in philosophy - several things might be considered: Purpose, outreach, discipleship, mentoring, fellowship, and family.

Currently I think we're in the midst of II & III. I wonder if this idea of post-youth ministry is one worth considering?

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