I just started reading through Chris Folmsbee’s new book, Story, Signs, and Sacred Rhythms. At the end of each chapter he offers reflection and discussion questions. I thought I would reflect here, and if there is anyone around for a discussion, let’s discuss!
1. What are some of your current frustrations with youth ministry?
I am frustrated by the “me-centered” nature of youth ministry. I feel like I spend a lot of time making kids love church and God by making it fun and relevant. Then, when they graduate high school and church isn’t always those things, they lose interest. And I’m pretty sure that’s because it shouldn’t be about “me” in the first place. Also, a new frustration in a bigger setting is the feeling of competition between youth groups. If we aren’t awesome, then students will go to wherever is. I don’t think this makes for very effective youth ministry.
2. What encourages you about the current state of youth ministry?
People are asking questions and longing to do things differently. I am continuously encouraged by different ym blogs and ideas, and I am encouraged by the openness to share ideas in public forums.
3. In what ways do you see yourself advancing a limited view of God to students?
We talk a lot about the love and grace of God, but not a lot about the judgment of God. We tend to talk about the parts of God that are easy for students to understand and not wrestle with the ones that not all of them can immediately comprehend.
4. In what ways are you helping your students with an unlimited view of God?
Getting outside the doors of the church and experiencing a God who can’t be contained, rather than learning about a God who we can put into any box we wish.
5. Do you agree with the statement: “Youth ministry is a theological endeavor”? Why or why not?
Yes, I agree. Youth ministry has to be theological (without being stuffy) because otherwise what is the framework for students to build a life of following after Christ on? If youth ministry is boiled down to do’s and do not’s, it is too easy to abandon those lists when things are hard. But a good understanding of God and the Bible gives something to hold onto and to filter life through.
6. In what ways are you currently helping your students develop context and meaning for God’s mission? How might you do better?
Our junior high ministry just spent the spring semester going through the story of God (using these two resources and combining them) and discovering why the stories of the Bible matter to us today. I also try to give practical application for how whatever we are talking about matters to what students do on a day-to-day basis.
I could do better by not trying to boil everything into a lesson to learn, but give students the tools to learn and discover meaning on their own.
Chapter 2 to come soon!