Monday, April 28, 2014

What I Wish My Youth [Pastor] Worker Knew

 I spent two days last week doing reading, research and following link by link through some familiar and some new spaces exploring ministry and mission with young people... my monthly email will reflect some that but also here on my blog...
 "Rethinking Youth Ministry" website makes a link to one stunning talk from the recent US "Progressive Youth Ministry Conference" here and it's a Conference I knew I'd wish I could get to as soon as I heard about it... that and at least one of the Princeton Gatherings that happen each year... but I think those opportunities, budget and time have passed me by!! It was a great lineup of people and it would have been great to chat with Tony Jones!!
You can also head straight to the video I'm talking about on vimeo here
   I'm not a fan of 'labels' because they never truly define someone's position yet enable vilification, cheap shots and dismissiveness alongside occasionally helping shorthand communication. I woudn't ascribe to being a 'progressive', I think there's not enough room for mystery in what that normally seems to label. What I am all for is people being able to explore their faith and the way they speak of God and to know the overarching good news of grace, compassion and inclusion that is Jesus life and teaching... I think the boomer generation has needed the 'progressive' label for what it is over and against ans well as the territory it attempts to stake out. To think otherwise would be akin to thinking feminism was an unhelpful label because surely there aren't those issues anymore... yeah, right!!
In the context of the US and the aforementioned Conference it's a simple naming that understands how most US youth ministry we are exposed to is of the 'evangelical' label and other do struggle to 'find their place' in those spaces. I have more in common with the emerging movement/s than progressives and as I say, don't find all that helpful... leave that all to one side...
   Jeff Chu makes a plea for the kind of youth ministry I've always aspired to and have come to believe is the call we all share as disciples of Jesus. Jeff wonders if what he asks is "too much"... we fallible human beings let each other down a lot...
   It also attracts criticism and is misunderstood by those from the more conservative end of the theological spectrum, those into models and ticking the boxes, those who are fond of focusing mostly on what they want to share/say/achieve or feel under pressure to not being focused on the 'right things.' It's OK, people are allowed to be wrong... Every person engaged in the ministry of Youth Worker should see this video!!

No comments: