Thursday, August 04, 2005

iMonk speaks to Yoofworkers

iMonk is worth reading most of the time. And then he produces a classic.... read on: Five Things That Youth Ministers Need To Hear (and you're afraid to tell them, so, OK, I'll do it.). Youthwork is increasingly valued within churches, but if we're going to do it needs to be a ministry of the church, not a rebel child who causes division.

Point three has been on my mind for a while:
"3. Can I ask you to do something for me? Could you read a book? Maybe two or three books. Good books of Bible, theology and the Christian life. Because, here's the thing. I know you watch a lot of MTV and go to a lot of movies. I see your iPod and your CDs. I know you do a lot with music. And I'm sure all that time you spend "chillin'" with your friends and dates is important, but we've handed over our children to you, and frankly, when I stand outside your youth class and listen to what you are teaching them, I want to have you arrested. I think you need to read a book, dude.
Yeah, you're funny and irreverent. It's a blast in your Bible study. The kids love the movie clips and the song excerpts. I'm sure the various lessons you teach from their favorite movies are holding their interest, but we'd all feel a lot better if you could teach the meaning of a book of the Bible, or explain some theology from the Bible, in a way that helped our kids actually trust the book for the truth they will need in years to come. We've made you into a teacher of some very impressionable minds. We need you to be prepared. Am I asking too much? Hey, we will buy the books for you. You just read them and get excited about what you want to teach. Ok?"
The same applies to student workers, like me, of course. Those of us in the early days of ministry (even five years in) need to get the support of our pastors, we need to be growing in our theologican foundations, we need people who will challenge us to keep people informed about what we're doing... we need people to follow. Those who have mentored me have been a precious gift from God. Thanks Rachel, Gareth, Pete, Piers & others.