Preparing for a recent presentation on our book, Missional Youth Ministry, I attempted to redesign a simple visual way to compare the earlier youth ministry paradigm known as "attractional youth ministry" and the emerging paradigm many would label "missional youth ministry" (you can click on the image above to see a larger version). Though I resist suggesting these two views of ministry are in complete opposition to one another, I find it helpful to set them side-by-side to point out the differences. In summary:
Attractional Youth Ministry
- The weekly meeting/worship service is the focus.
- Marketing is used to bring participants into that meeting.
- Evangelism is focused on making participants into members of the group/church.
- Programming (Bible study, mission, fellowship, worship) is all designed to draw or attract participants into that weekly meeting and church membership.
- Most of the work is done by professional or paid ministry staff.
Missional Youth Ministry
- The mission of the Church (big "C") is the focus.
- Participants are sent out to embody that mission in the world.
- Evangelism is primarily about living out and telling the good news.
- Ministry, rather than programming, makes up the bulk of the activity. All activity (study, mission, fellowship, worship) is seen through the lens of "What is our mission?"
- Strong emphasis on the priesthood of all believers -- empowering youth to find their own call within the ministry of the Church and to live it out in their daily lives.
Certainly there is overlap between the two models, but the greatest distinction is that one is more inwardly focused toward the Church as institution and the other more outwardly focused toward our call to ministry in our own daily context. Your thoughts? How might you change or tweak this model? What is missing? Does this connect with or push back against your understand of "missional?"