Wednesday, October 17, 2012

i still like mike

i first read this maybe 5 or 6 years ago. it is one of those articles i seek out and re-read every few months.  Mike was the founder and owner of Youth Specialties... arguably the most used resource in youth ministry over the last 2 or 3 decades.  over the last few years, virtually every conversation i have had involving youth and children s programs leads me back to this article written by the man who invented modern youth ministry.


A Better Idea Than Youth Ministry
by Mike Yaconelli

Youth ministry is a good idea. But there’s a better idea.

Before we go there, let’s look at what’s good about the good idea of youth ministry.

Good Youth Ministry

Relevance. Relevance is good. It means students can think, talk, write, and sing about the gospel in a language they can not only understand, but incorporate into their lives now. That’s good. Very good.

Relationship. Relationships are good. Youth groups are places where kids can learn something about relationships, about friendships. They learn the value of praying together, working together, being together, and serving together. In healthy youth groups they learn how to be less cruel toward those who are different; they are confronted with a gospel that asks us to love each other—even when the person to be loved is uncool, ugly, uncoordinated, overweight, or a geek. That is good. Very good.

Youth ministry is about safety. Safety is good. It gives young people a glimpse of grace. At its best youth ministry is a place where students are safe: safe to be honest, to be real, and to express what is deep in their soul. Not all youth groups are safe; but where there is safety, it is good. Very good.

Youth ministry is about fun. Fun is good, too. Very good. Young people have very few places where they are encouraged to have fun. Students should spend a lot of their childhood laughing. Youth ministry helps young people rediscover genuine laughter and fun. Fun is good.

Youth group is good.

But there’s a better good.

It’s called church.