I was asked to write an article for our national zine, a last minute request, I made the deadline but was told last minute that it was not needed…ho hum. (To be honest, I never really wrote a thing, I just spent 2 hours cutting someone elses article down from from about 3000 words to the following 550!) So it does not go to waste (my 2 hours) you get to read it. Oh by the way, thanks Gaz for passing it on to me.
An article by Mark Driscoll and Chris Seav titled “A Second Reformation is at Hand” written last year caught my attention as being pertinent to the future of Youth Ministry within our churches, in it they suggest it’s crucial to re-examine long-held beliefs and assumptions regarding how we communicate with youths and teach them to live out the gospel. 8 of these erroneous beliefs are as follows –
“Garbage In-Garbage Out.” Based on this concept, Daniel in captivity in Babylon, should have ended up as a pagan priest with all the garbage he would have ‘taken in’ in his training. Despite the wicked practices Daniel learns, he is able to discern truth in the midst of his cultural context. Daniel is placed in a situation no youth workers want their students exposed to, but he learns to walk a fine line—and succeeds.
“Propositional Truth” Evangelism. Throwing truth at teens, telling them what is ‘truth’ just wont cut it anymore than it did in Christ’s day. ‘As long as they buy the propositions, they’re converted.’
That’s exactly what a lot of evangelism has resembled in the modern era. And it doesn’t work anymore.
The Gospel of Consumption. We’ve taught kids that life is something you take in and devour—like entertainment. You come to youth group, sit, and consume. In the same way, the church as a whole has become a business that exists to attract consumers by marketing a product. So the gospel is no longer something you participate in—it’s something you consume.—it’s all about goods and services.
“Worldliness.” What’s the average Christians definition of this?
Smoking? Drinking? Dancing? Loud music ?
But how often to we talk to teens about –
Debt Greed Divorce Adultery Overworking Gluttony
When we engage teenagers, we need to give them a better definition of worldliness than simply “not consuming the right products.” Worldliness ought to mean “embodying values contrary to the gospel, contrary to redemption, contrary to community life, grace, and the missionary call of God.”
“Christian Culture.” Why do we insist that we’re the “pure people” offering a “pure culture”? Why do we insist on protecting, insulating, and inoculating our kids against a pagan world? We must say to our students, “You’re going to engage this real world. Again we need to offer kids interpretive lenses through which they can understand Scripture and the redemptive narrative of the gospel.
Western Christianity. The Western world is very individualistic, very consumeristic, very rugged, and very entrepreneurial. Therefore those who’ve come to Christ in a Western context will have a difficult time relating to Christ outside of that context.
Jesus as “Personal Saviour.” We need to reconsider the idea of individual salvation. The reasoning goes: “I think, therefore I am…and it’s all about me.” We think in terms of ourselves before anyone else—not in terms of communities and tribes. But as we read the New Testament, men like Cornelius are baptized along with their whole household. They make a decision together, to come to Christ.
“Sacred and Secular.” . We can not longer say, “This is sacred, so it’s safe and it’s okay; this is secular, so it’s not.” That kind of assumption is based, again, on our modern, Western version of Christianity. We must look at things in terms of what can be redeemed and what cannot be redeemed.