Youth Ministry 3.0

ym30Just finished Youth Ministry 3.0 by Mark Oestreicher. I think I have been reading this over the last 2 months. It is only a 116 pages long but Feb. was a busy month so while on vacation I am catching up on the many half read books.

Marko identifies 3 phases of youth ministry. Youth ministry 1.0 was from its conception to 1970. Its primary focus was evangelism and correction. They wanted to convert the masses and help correct them and become great Christians. Chances are if you are around older people for very long you will see this mentality. They see your number one job as correcting people. John is sitting in the parking lot during church you need to correct his behavior. Sally is wearing X so you need to correct her behavior. Do you know what is on Tom’s myspace page you need to correct him. I would add to this doctrine. There was a strong emphasis on what is right and what separates us from all the others. This was best seen as being accomplished by proclaiming the word of God. This was when youth rallies and the like began. Much of our teaching styles started and remain in this area.

Youth ministry 2.o  was from 1970 till now. It was about Discipleship and Creating a Positive Peer Group. Our focus left evangelism and focused on making disciples out of our students. If we could help them become sold out to Jesus then their behavior would change and their friends would see it and want to know more. We would create a safe place for them at church to help them grow. The downfall to this is that we began to place more emphasis on making church a safe place. This presents itself when people are more concerned with having students safe in our place than with people from the world. Parents are more concerned with their children being safe than reaching the lost. Safety is what I see more than anything else. This was accomplished by programs. Programs drive the church today. Go to your local church and you will see more programs than items on the Cheesecake Factory menu. The problem is that we focused on programs so much that they drive us. Even if they don’t accomplish our purpose we are in love with our programs. Success is determined by the number of events and number of people attending them.

Youth Ministry 3.0 is about communion and mission. Marko is encouraging us to begin this new model today. Communion is about building relationships with people and their friends. It isn’t about programs or events but people. The main goal is to love people. Mission is about living out the mission of God in our lives. Jesus was about loving his father and loving people. We accompish this not by proclomation or programs but by being present. And while we are there we build relationships, can model Jesus, and accomplish the rest. We engage in the mission of God and this builds relationships with others and help us love them and God.

Marko gives a condensed look at a movement that is already growing. I couldn’t help but to think that this was similar to Contemplative Youth Ministry. It is a quick and easy read with 116 pages and a third of the page comments from other people. So if you don’t read it them then it will go fast. I will say that this is a must read for youth ministers because it is written by Marko. Let’s face it he has a large platform so this book is going to change youth ministry.

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