Tuesday, January 09, 2007

    Don't Give Up Your Day Job

    A short but interesting post at the BolgBlog suggests that the future for youth ministers may be bleak, at least in the emergent church movement where the emphasis is on integrating youth holistically into the full life of the Church rather than segregating them because of their age. With this approach, there is no longer a need for a particular person on the church staff to care for the youth. Rather, their care and nuture becomes a ministry of the whole church.

    There is much I admire about the emergent church movement (and much I don't) but on this point I see great merit (and I say that as one who has made a career of being a "youth minister"). For years I've thought we are doing great harm to the church by segregating youth off to their own space and their own programs and worship services...and with their own minister. We treat them as "Christians-to-be" rather than full participants in the life of the Church today. In my own denomination, the Disciples of Christ, we typically baptize and bring into membership children as young as 10 or 11. Yet, no one would even think of letting one of these children sit on the church board or help make important decisions in the church. So, we'll let a child make the most important (faith) decision of their life, but we don't think they are capable of helping the church spend its money or decide what color to paint the fellowship hall?


    2Pete said...

    I love what you're saying here about Youth in church - the way we segregate them from the larger Body.

    The demographically-diced churches of the 20th century have (in my opinion) been hugely detrimental to the natural need of young people to learn from the old - AND vice versa, the old kept fresh by the young.

    Your suggestion (or maybe you're just brainstorming out loud - but I like it) of having young people sit on Church BOARDS is quite stretching!

    bto said...

    hey not bad... not tryin to be so strong as to object to the idea of wholly integrated church, but i find in the youth struggle for identity that one icon(a youth specific pastor) and that a better suited environment (youth specific programming) is flat out more effective at caring for students needs. there is of course a benefit to whole churchness and perhaps sharing the sacraments together is a solid blend. maybe start there, maybe do youth specific events that cater to the elders in the church or the children in the church. Community, the assumed goal of this whole stuff is not making the identity and actions of every demographic the same but maybe the attitudes. bto