Some things I’ve been thinking about lately (rants)

Random ponderingsBare with me as I unload a mind dump of stuff that’s been running through my head lately. If you have any thoughts on these items, please feel free to comment below.

1. Sometimes I feel that teens are replacing Christianity for Churchianity, as if being busy with lots of Bible studies somehow equals spiritual growth, or even a relationship with Jesus. Unfortunately, I think they’re seeing that modeled from parents, youth leaders, and even pastors.

2. This generation really has a consumeristic mindset about church and ministry. It’s all about what “I want” or “I need” more than anything else. If they don’t like it, then they don’t come, which isn’t want the body of Christ is about at all. The pressure youth workers feel is to give kids what they want because then they see the ministry “grow” and unfortunately we fail to give them what they really need, because if we did that, then everyone would leave because that’s often not what they want. I’m thinking it’s better to have a small group of growing, committed teens than a large group of kids who are pressuring us to resort to entertainment that expect everything to be “fun.”

3. There will always be “cliques.” Fighting against it is probably a futile effort. Instead, we need to find ways to leverage the friend groups and capitalize on those existing relationships. I mean, we all have people we naturally gravitate toward more than others, right?

4. High school upper-classmen totally underestimate the influence they can have on jr. highers. In many ways, 7th and 8th graders look up to and respect juniors and seniors even more than they do adults. I need to be more intentional about making that happen for the high school students who are spiritually and emotionally mature.

5. Youth ministry is so much more powerful when teens take ownership of something and feel like they’re in control of the direction and vision. I wonder how I can best help keep their vision from being misguided and imbalanced without putting a damper on it.

6. Can’t believe I turned down someone’s vision in our church for a youth facility or a youth room (neither of which we have). Most youth workers would jump at that! Guess I’m more committed than I thought to making sure teens are an integrated part of the life of the body here, not just a separated age group, or a minichurch.

7. It seems like mentoring is becoming all the rage right now. I’m seeing too many well-intentioned ministries starting mentoring programs that are really just membership-only websites with resources. C’mon, if you’re gonna mentor, actually do it — don’t just re-label your content because the mentoring bandwagon will help your market your stuff better.

8. How in the world do we start to combat narcissism in our youth ministries? (Thanks to Walt Mueller for putting this one in my head during last Monday’s LIVE YM Talk.)

9. I know studies show that teens are supposed to have an attention span of only 25 minutes or so, but over the past couple months I’m witnessing many of my youth group kids sitting down and listening intently to content-heavy sermons that are over an hour long! It shows me that they really crave spiritual depth when it’s practical and highly applicable.

10. My little 4-month-old daughter is amazing! She’s so much fun! But having her around makes it much harder to keep up with blogging the way I used to. My rhythm here has slowed from publishing content almost every week-day to maybe once or twice a week. I’m trying to find my groove again. When I do invest time into the site, it’s mostly behind-the-scenes stuff, like updating the mentoring program, recruiting new mentors, working on my book that YS/Zondervan is publishing next year, preparing for the Online Missions Trip, responding to emails, working on updates for, etc. I think I could make a full-time job out of this if I wanted to.

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Posted on December 10, 2009

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