- Radically reinvisioning the world in which we live -- even though it's a world in which we are pretty comfortable (Do our youth rooms really need a mini-fridge and an Xbox or should our priorities be elsewhere?).
- Letting go of all our old distinctions of rich/poor, male/female, gay/straight, young/old, powerful/powerless, respected/shamed, cool/uncool, popular/unpopular (Who is not in your youth group because they don't think they'd be welcome in the church? What are you doing to extend to them the hand of Christian hospitality?)
- Opposing violence and working for peace (Is it time for a protest march?)
- Speaking out against intolerance and injustice and calling on the Church to do the same. (How do your youth see the intersection of their faith and their attitudes about healthcare, poverty, AIDS, abortion, the death penalty, racism, etc.?)
- Leaving the comfort of our youth rooms to go out and literally feed the poor, clothe the naked, care for the lonely, heal the sick. (Can we do this every Sunday and not just on the yearly mission trip?)
- Deciding that sharing our faith means more than convincing other people of our religious point of view or showing publicly that we are more pious than the next person. It's about how we live and love in this world. ("Preach the Gospel always and, if necessary, use words.")
So, how do you know if your group is following the radical Jesus or just playing it safe? Ask yourself: Is our ministry meeting any resistance from those, youth and adults alike, who are happy with the cultural status quo? Have we confused the gospel with our culture’s recipe for respectability, comfortableness, safety? Does the Jesus we follow demand anything of our youth other than being members in the "nice people" club? Is the Jesus we share with our youth more like a kitty cat or Aslan the Lion?
I know many of you out there are leading "dangerous" youth ministries. We'd like to hear from you and know what you're doing. You may just inspire the rest of us to stop playing it safe.