Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Youth Ministry and Culture: An Introduction
Well friends, this blog is about youth ministry and writing, so here's our first real post in that direction. I've been reading Niebuhr's book Christ and Culture recently, and it's really helped me get started thinking about youth ministry and the wider youth culture can and should relate. Here's a possible introduction for an extended article:
Youth ministers are forever watching, analysing and copying secular youth culture. This isn’t a fundamentally good thing, or a fundamentally bad thing. It is simply a necessary part of the job. Youth ministers are frequently aware that be they 25 or 55, they no longer inhabit the same cultural sphere as a 13 year old. Whilst it mustn’t be overstated, there is some degree of cultural remoteness between youth ministers and those they lead. Thus, to effectively bring the light of Christ and the word of the gospel to teenagers, youth ministers become students of youth culture. Many youth ministers pause to take in the nuts and bolts of youth culture, such as musical styles, technological trends, and linguistic variety. However, fewer youth ministers stop to consider their fundamental stance toward youth culture and the theological foundation, if any, for that stance. Is youth culture something that needs to transform and inform the church in order to serve the youth of today? Is youth culture so full of evil that Christians must come out and be separate from it? Or is youth culture essentially good, whilst being tainted by sin, and in need of redemption? Wether we have thought about it or not, our answer to these questions will fundamentally shape that nature of the youth ministry we pursue. Wether we have thought about it or not, the way we answer these questions must be theologically grounded.
I'd love some feedback. Does the intro seem clear? Is it interesting? Does it make you want to read more? Does it raise an issue for you in youth ministry?