Friday, December 17, 2010

    How Do You Ruin A Youth Ministry?

    This week I participated in a quick online survey (via youthworkermovement) about youth ministry. One of the questions was so simple yet amazingly provovative:
    Imagine that you were tasked with ruining (yes, ruining) a vibrant youth ministry within 12 months, all while appearing to be trying to keep it afloat. How do you tactically dismantle it? (Tricky one. Think backwards.)
    Here is the response I offered:  "Great question. I would focus most of our efforts on offering high energy, technology centered, entertainment-feuled programs that attracted lots of teens, but give only passing nods to things like Bible study, issues related to justice, or talk of servanthood. I'd make a point of always talking up the number of teens we had at our gatherings without ever talking about the substance of our programs (because there wouldn't be any). Then, when I had the program built up with big attendance numbers, in the 12th month I'd suddenly drop all the fun programming and move instead to hardcore Bible study and sermons, telling the youth what they should believe and what will happen if they don't. That should do the trick."

    What about you?  How would you go about ruining a vibrant youth ministry in just 12 months time?

    10 comments:

    John Mulholland said...

    Perfect.

    chad said...

    make changes every week, do things by myself, not talk to kids, never train leaders, decide what i'm gonna do on the spot, never pray, never read the Bible, love my family well, or be on mission in my own life...

    that will ruin a program whether you are high tech, big production or no frills, zero programming...

    it's never about the style it's about the people and the intent

    of course the question is a setup... if the program has incredible spiritual gains it still has nothing to do with us.

    don't kid yourself for a minute that God only blesses certain styles

    Brian said...

    Good thoughts,Chad. I would clarify that I agree too that the style is not the issue - the lack of spiritual substance is the issue, in my opinion -- or as you say, "intent."

    chad said...

    I didn't mean to come off as antagonistic to you personally. The question implies that if there is a wrong way then there is a right way. Its too man centered and that frustrates me. I'm reading too much into it. I think the youth ministry field is focused on the form way too mujch... making and creating compartments, camps, and factions. Its useless banter.

    The postg is good.

    Your brother

    Chad

    bethegospel said...

    Build a good running ministry off of my shoulders for 9 months and not involve any other leaders or adults, and then about the end of September quit and go to work for the bigger church across town. That way no one will be there to pick up the pieces, some kids will leave and follow me to the big church, and everyone will be left feeling abandoned!

    Greg said...

    I would tell the students that the gospel is solely about their comfort and happiness.

    Thmmmp :-P said...

    Do activities that just piss off parents with no regards to their opinion. Also making the kids feel like there was no real attempt to put a youth group meeting together every week, making it seem like you neither care nor want to put the effort into it. Rejecting all ideas from the students and making youth group feel your "ideal dream" without meeting the needs of those in your community. And finally, allowing bullying and cliques rule the the youth group environment.

    livpalm said...

    With a jealous senior pastor.

    Brian Kirk & Jacob Thorne said...

    LivPalm - are you speaking from some experience? (Because, trust me...I've been there!)

    kkollwitz said...

    Fill classtime with undemanding 'Jesus loves you' fluff.