Monday, August 08, 2011

Run Out # 05 Haunting Questions

I'm reading 'OMG Youth Ministry Handbook' and it does a good job of framing a way to think about the 'failure' of youth ministry over the last thirty years in western mainline denominations. There's much more to read but this part is suggesting that the models we've used have not delivered the hoped for results of young people shaping a mature Christian faith and that is true... many have BUT it's not a success story generationally.
Enculturation, community building and keeping young people busy with in-house activity has lots of positive outcomes but does not automatically lead to faith being 'caught' or 'tools' for shaping faith being passed on... It especially in my 'experience alone' does not necessarily prepare anyone for the 'stuff' that happens in life and how resilient faith survives such questioning.
The 'haunting questions' are questions about authenticity... they don't deny enthusiasm, commitment or longevity but point to the fact that we are [as colleague Duncan would put it] 'good at belonging' but passing on the 'tools' for young people to make meaning and explore faith for themselves is less effective... fire away with counter examples... they certainly exist BUT the evidence across the globe delivers low numbers.
One of the pitfalls is that a goal is still to get young people joining the Sunday gathering to pray and sing... this is instead of asking, 'what does Jesus look like 'where they are', how is grace or good news experienced and how can we bring that presence to the world we live in? It's not just about the club we retreat to... we don't need to train leaders to be like 'Bondi Rescue'... we need to form leaders to live out their faith in the world and to invite others on the same journey... right where they are!!

What practices will bring life to this?
How can we be people who bring grace, reconciliation, forgiveness and more... to all we meet!!

OMG picks up Andrew Root's ponderings about 'place sharing' and I'll continue to read and be inspired by the developing wisdom coming from the discipline of practical theology and some rigour brought to what for me are hunches and intuitive questions... Get a copy!!

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