I don’t know about any of you, but I’m starting to notice a trend in Youth Ministry blogs that is a reflection of what I believe to be a larger problem in Youth Ministry. Be forewarned, if you choose to continue reading you will be reading a rant. It’s going to get a little soap boxy from here on out, but I need to vent my frustration.
A recurring topic in Youth Ministry blogs, but something that has been discussed and validated in several Youth Ministry circles for as long as I can remember being involved in Youth Ministry (as a teen and as a Youth Leader) is the balance of being culturally relevant and biblically sounds. I’ve got to say, I feel like there are far too many people making the case for the need to be culturally relevant in Youth Ministry and not enough of us standing up and advocating the primary need to be biblically sound in Youth Ministry. I get that we want to connect with students and be relevant, but where did the assumption come that the Gospel isn’t relevant?
I wonder what Youth Ministry might look like and how effective a tool it might be within our churches if we all focused on sound biblical teaching, proclaiming the Gospel at every opportunity, walking our teenagers through systematic theology, and building relationships and community with them that were solely rooted in God. I’m thankful that there are Youth Leaders out there that are wired this way, but it pains me to think that there are teens who are out there that are walking away from a Youth Group experience that spends more time, energy, effort, and resources on being culturally relevant that biblically sound. I’m all for a balanced approach, but if we take biblically sound to an extreme we can still have effective ministries (I just believe the Gospel is that powerful – call me nuts!) but if we take culturally relevant to an extreme we may not. But we talk about it like it’s where we’re lacking. I feel like when we place too much emphasis on being culturally relevant our thought process is rooted in the idea that the Gospel isn’t enough, so we need to make it more attractive.
I don’t want to read another blog post that gives me 5 steps to being culturally relevant. And for the cynics out there…I stop reading them when I realize what I’ve gotten myself into. I would love to see any army of Youth Leaders who are raising up teens in the Bible and not in entertainment. Can we respect the calling that we have in our lives to minister to these teenagers and bring them closer to God and appreciate the fact that God hasn’t called us to be Event Directors or Production Coordinators? Can we start putting our faith in God and His Word to attract students to Him?
Am I alone in my thinking? Or are there other Youth Leaders out there who are becoming discontent with the state of Youth Ministry and the way we approach it? If I’m crazy and out of my mind…tell me like it is. But I refuse to believe that extra efforts put into being culturally relevant vs. biblically sound will help us be any more effective in ministering to teens that putting those same resources into simply being biblically sound.
What say you?