Monday, January 08, 2007

Consequenses of Consumer Driven Youth Ministry

I love the technological advances of the world we live in. As I sit here listening to my ipod while I type on my laptop that is connected to a wireless network at the local sports bar I wonder if it is all worth it. Those who know me well know how much I love techno-gadgets. I want to be able to communicate in every way possible at all times. I know, it is a little ridiculous.

I wanted it all as a youth pastor too. In many ways I had it. I had a great student worship team, cool games, and freedom to try all kinds of new and cool ways to attract as many kids as possible. When it was popular I had student led cell groups, fancy videos, and very cool and hip staff. In many ways there was nothing I didn't have except the biggest youth ministry in town (I think it was the second biggest, and I was working on the biggest). Was it all worth it? Did that mean I was successful?

I don't want to give you some speech about numbers and success, but there seems to be something in us that makes us operate that way. Instead I want to ask a different question. In a society where teenagers will camp out overnight to buy the latest video games should the church try to work through culture or offer something counter cultural? As I reflect, it seems like Jesus did both, but the gospel message itself is counter cultural.

As I reflect on all of my youth ministry experiences most of them were very man centered, very culturally relevant. I wonder now if I should have focused less on the needs of students and more on the desires of God. Maybe instead of asking if what I was doing was relevant to students I should have asked if I was helping students become relevant to God.

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