Next week I get together with our youth volunteers to reflect over the book Contemplative Youth Ministry. This is probably the best book on youth ministry I have read. It challenged me deeply, and it gave me great hope and a hunger for youth ministry to move from talking about God to immersing ourselves in God.
I wanted to share this list from Mark Yaconelli in the book who looks at two approaches to youth ministry: the anxiety way and the love way. If we are honest, the anxiety model he shares is the primary model that churches look for and work towards. May our hearts and minds about ministry be challenged as we move in the direction of the Spirit.
Anxiety seeks control. (How do I make kids into Christians?)
Love seeks contemplation. (How can I be present to kids and to God?)
Anxiety seeks professionals. (Who is the expert that can solve the youth problem?)
Love seeks processes (What can we do together to uncover Jesus’ way of life?)
Anxiety wants products. (What book, video, or curriculum will teach kids about faith?)
Love desires presence. (Who will bear the life of God among teenagers?)
Anxiety lifts up gurus. (Who has the charisma to draw kids?)
Love relies on guides. (Who has the gifts for living alongside kids?)
Anxiety rests in results. (How many kids have committed to the faith?)
Love rests in relationships. (Who are the kids we’ve befriended?)
Anxiety seeks conformity. (Are the youth meeting our expectations).
Love brings our creativity. (In what fresh way is God challenging us through our kids?)
Anxiety wants activity. (What will keep the kids busy?)
Love brings awareness. (What are the real needs of the youth?)
Anxiety seeks answers. (Here’s what we think. Here’s who God is.)
Love seeks questions. (What do you think? Or as Jesus said, “Who do you say that I am?”)