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How youth ministry has changed over 10 years [video]

For the past several months Kent Shaffer of ChurchRelevance.com has been coaching me through a lot of things in life lately: transitioning out of my church, the business side of blogging, marketing my upcoming YS/Zondervan book (tip: the pre-order on Amazon is currently 32% off!), and more. We’ve had a lot of really good conversations, so it was fun to meet up with him for breakfast while passing through his home town of Oklahoma City last week.

I asked him how he perceives youth ministry has changed over the past 10 years and he gave several insightful responses. We also talked about how ministries should adapt to an ever-changing culture, and how to best make ministry sticky for those we serve. Check it out in the video below!

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Posted on December 22, 2010

  • Interesting conversation here…. Great points made– especially this whole idea of wow factor. I completely agree about the whole idea of rapid cultural shifts in a matter of 6 months.

    The great news is: if you enjoy engaging, assessing, and understanding culture, then your mind will be stimulated through the many different cultural trends that are coming and going.

    The bad news is: Christians are horrible at creating their own culture that has a vibrant-wow factor that appeals to the marketplace and even to non-Christians. In addition, some Christians have a difficult time understanding the times. In fact, three or four cultural shifts may have already happened before a Christian leader understands the shift and then it is already too late. We tend to be the trend followers and not trend setters.

    I think the 2 key pieces to having a great wow factor: 1) Know your audience 2) Contextual the method to meet the real and felt needs of your defined audience without compromising the Gospel.

    • Good thoughts, Jeremy. I agree about churches being so slow to adapt to culture, but do you think churches are the only ones? I mean, engaging, assessing and understanding culture is such an elusive thing. For anyone, not just churches, to keep up with it, it seems like once you've figured it out, it's already moved on.

      Traditionally, though, I do think churches have been notoriously too far behind. You don't have to be cutting edge, but you should at least be in touch with it.

      • Guest

        I'm sure you've heard it before, but this quote strikes me as the correct ordering of Church and Culture.

        “We don’t need a Church that moves with the world; we need a Church that moves the world.” – G. K. Chesterton.

        We need to invest our money and talents in presenting eternal truth in bold new, artistic ways and stop poorly copying/imitating whatever secular culture produces. There was a time in Christian Culture where that ordering was correct. Look at the works of Michelangelo, Mozart, Shakespeare, Dante, or in more recent times C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. They expressed their faith in art and it moved the culture. I'm probably being too broad and not focusing enough on the student ministry aspect of it which is the scope of this blog, but anyways, interesting conversation as always! : )

  • Pingback: Conversations on the Past in Youth Ministry | Being Ministry()

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