Leser for tida ei interessan bok av Chap Clark
Hurt: Inside the world of today’s teenagers
Baker Academic, 2004
Viss du i ein eller anna sammenheng jobber med ungdommer… Bør du lese denne boka! Sjå om du ikkje kjenner igjen nokre av dei tinga han skriv om!
USA vs Norge
Alt kan nok ikkje overførast frå den amerikanske konteksten, til vårt nabolag… Men synest alikevell du bør sjekke ut denne boka!
Dersom du er med å driv arbeid for og med ungdom, bør du lese dette som kommer her! Appndix a i boka. Og du skal få det heilt gratis 😉
Nokre viktige poeng
(for deg som ikkje orke å lesa alt… Eller som en smakebit)
- Han skriver om at vi som ungdomsleder av og til er mer fokusert på «programmet», enn på enkeltpersonene…
- Han skriver om at det har skjedd en glipp når voksne ikke lenger er med som ledere, og det kun er ungdomer som er med som ledere i ungomsarbedet.
- Han skriver om at ungdomsarbeidet må handle om noe meir enn den enkelte, individuelle, sin tro på Jesus…
Les det han skriver!
Er du enig?
NB: Klikk på «Les videre»
Youth ministry in a changing world
I have been involved in the Christian church’s mission of caring for adolescents for more than three decades. I was first introduced to youth ministry through my local church as a junior high student but was drawn into a personal faith commitment through Young Life during my sophomore year in high school.1 I soon was deeply involved with both Young Life and a local church youth group, first as a student leader and later as a leader (or sponsor) while in college.
A week after graduation I joined the ranks of vocational youth ministry as a Young Life full-time staff member, and as a part of my training, I enrolled in the master of art’s in theology program at Fuller Theological Seminary, where I now teach.
I spent fifteen years on the Young Life staff in a variety of leadership and training roles. I have been a professor of youth ministry, youth and family ministry, and now youth, family, and culture for the past twelve years. During this time, I have been committed to staying in touch with students, both those in the church and those who want nothing to do with religion.
Throughout my career, then, I have been on the front lines of serving and caring for adolescents and have taught others what it means to work with them. The Current State of Youth Ministry Youth ministry is the label most laypeople in the church use to describe the programs and efforts targeted at kids, usually meaning middle and high school students.
Youth ministry, when done well, is both encouraging and generally effective.
The people who work in youth ministry are for the most part sincere, well-intentioned, caring adults who want to see those under their care come to a personal relationship with Christ.2 In the majority of churches, this is done by a handful of volunteers, sometimes under the leadership of a paid youth worker. Most of the time, youth ministry functions as a link between the adult community and adolescents.
A positive aspect of youth ministry is that adolescents have at least a few adults who genuinely care about them. The warmth and safety of early adolescent youth ministry, especially if the leaders recognize that the program needs to be more concerned about feelings than cognitive training and indoctrination, is valuable in showing adolescents what the church should and can be for the rest of their lives.
As the recognition of abandonment begins to influence the decisions and relationships of midadolescents, the programmatic and institutional aspects of youth ministry make it more susceptible to disinterest or outright disdain. There are obviously exceptions to this shift, as with everything I have said in this book.
An adult who is more interested in the welfare of individuals than in the program or “the ministry” will have a far better chance of retaining the loyalty and interest of students throughout midadolescence.
The reality, however, is that often the demands and expectations of executing a program become the central driving focus. It takes little for a midadolescent to feel as though the program matters more than he or she does.
This creates a crisis in youth ministry: Once students begin to see youth ministry in the same light as other institutions that have abandoned them, it becomes something to experience only in inauthentic layers if at all. How Abandonment Affects Traditional Youth Ministry Thinking I have seen hundreds of youth ministry programs, consulted several dozens of churches and parachurch groups, and interacted with thousands of youth ministry leaders and students over the course of my life, and I have come to this conclusion:
Abandonment is not limited to “the world” but is alive and well in the systems and structures of the church.
Youth ministry is often concerned with numerical growth, superficial and instant response, and active attendance, making it more about the ministry than about the individuals. For midadolescents, this is one more form of abandonment.
An example is when twelve students arrive and the “normal” group is eighteen. The first question from the leadership is, “Where is everybody?” This prompts the twelve to wonder if their presence matters at all.
An even subtler yet insidious expression of the way the church has abandoned adolescents is the view that only students can reach students. Adults have moved away from nurturing adolescents into the life of the church. As a result, students are the prime leaders in almost every aspect of youth ministry, from leading small groups to choosing curricula to leading worship and teaching.
This philosophy sounds empowering, but it is an ineffective approach. And it becomes dangerous when adults assume that adolescents do not need adults to become interdependent members of the church community.
Adolescents are desperate for adults who care enough to look beneath the surface of their layered living, to stand beside them in the midst of their inconsistency, and to gently and patiently lead, shepherd, and guide them into adulthood. The philosophy that leaves youth ministry solely in the hands of students says, “You don’t need adults to make a difference; you just need adults to give you the resources and the encouragement to go out there and do it yourself.” But this communicates to adolescents, “I do not have the time or the ability to reach your world.”
Students may say they do not want it any other way, but they do not have the perspective necessary to know what they truly want or what is in their best interest. I am not saying that students should not be involved in ministry or that they should not be given opportunities to explore their callings and giftedness.
My concern comes when we expect students to lead and run a program without the careful, strategic, and deliberate investment of adults whose task it is to lead students to maturity and assimilation. Midadolescents are preoccupied with how they are going to survive in what is perceived to be a hostile and difficult social environment. When adults force them to take sole responsibility for a program, students have to do the very thing that almost no adult has the courage to do—risk the fragile equilibrium of social connections, acquaintances, and close friendships to be a salesperson for a religious program. Adolescents need adults.
The problem is not that adults cannot reach adolescents (and therefore students must reach students). The problem is that adults have not invested the time, energy, and commitment to reach adolescents.
Both practical and academic literature show strong evidence that youth ministry in its current form makes little difference in the future faith commitment of the vast majority of adolescents, especially when compared to the overwhelming influence of parents.
In response to a society that has abandoned the young and a youth ministry culture in which adults have handed the reins to students, I offer the following program as a way to go about the business of serving adolescents in God’s name—shifting the goal of youth ministry from individual discipleship to communal assimilation.
The Goal of Youth Ministry
The vast majority of those involved in youth ministry define the goal of their work as encouraging students to develop a personal, authentic faith in Christ. For most of my life, I enthusiastically agreed that this is not only an appropriate goal but also the only possible option. If a ministry is not about pointing people toward a personal encounter with Christ, my thinking went, then it is theologically invalid. During the last few years of my work with adolescents, however, this assumption was not only challenged but also shattered.
I no longer believe that an individual commitment is an adequate goal as we invite the young to seek the God who seeks them. There must be more.
As I have considered the needs, drives, and longings of adolescents, especially midadolescents, I have come to the conclusion that the modernistic quest for individual fulfillment is shallow and does not come close to satisfying a soul.
We, as Christians influenced by American mainstream culture, have bought into a faith system and ethos that deify the cultural push for independence and self-sufficiency. The story of the Good News is not about my fulfillment but rather the invitation to step into the grand stream of God’s story.
The Bible calls us to live as a community, a body, and a family.
We are not brought into an intimate relationship with God through Christ for our sakes but rather for the sake of God’s purposes for those he loves. The message of reconciliation with God6 is an invitation to join with others who recognize their individual and collective need to love God and to live in love with one another.
Thus, the goal of youth ministry should be to make disciples of Jesus Christ who are authentically walking with God within the context of intimate Christian community.
This definition implies that the following three convictions are at the core of youth ministry:
We are to invest in the making of followers of Jesus Christ; this is a long-term journey of faith; and authentic trust in God is fostered as young people and adults recognize that a community is one in which all members need and belong to one another.
Invest in the Making of Followers of Jesus Christ
The statement that we are to invest in the making of followers of Jesus Christ is grounded in the life and the teaching of Jesus himself, as found in the Great Commission: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Matthew 28:18–20
Thus, a vital aspect of caring for the young in the name of Jesus Christ is introducing them to God’s invitation to become a follower of Jesus. A disciple is made when another disciple goes, and that is the role of adults in the process of making followers of Christ. The making is dependent on the going.
As adults spend time and effort by going to students with the sole agenda of inviting them into the grand adventure of trust in Christ, they walk in step with God’s work in the world. Midadolescent Faith Is a Long, Laborious Journey One of the most significant changes I have observed over the past three decades is how much longer it takes for faith to be rooted in a young person’s life.
Internalizing and personally owning faith in a way that guides and shapes a life often takes years. Veteran youth workers have a nagging feeling that this laborious journey to faith is universal, even among adolescents from spiritually supportive family systems. My observation of youth ministry programs is that this gradual shift in the spiritual development of adolescents has been almost totally ignored.
The process of helping an adolescent develop a consistent faith takes time, patience, and perseverance.
Faith is a long, complex journey, and adolescents need someone who will walk alongside them as long as it takes.
Kids Need Adults to Receive Them as True Members of the Community Ultimately, the goal of youth ministry is not about helping to shape a personal faith. The goal is the full relational and systemic assimilation of the emerging adult11 into the life of the Christian community known as the church.
According to the Bible and historical theology, for faith to be truly Christian, it must be understood and expressed both personally and corporately. In most churches, when midadolescents leave high school, there are few programmatic options available for them much less a welcoming community that has committed to bring them into the life of the body. In a culture in which the young have been set adrift without a structure designed to invite them back into the core of adult life, the church must be different.
Making It Happen: The Church’s Call to Caring for the Young Colleen Carroll, in her book The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy, affirms the abandonment of the past several decades.
At the same time, however, she joins a chorus of others who believe that the current generation of young people, typically referred to as Generation Y or Millennials, are responding to their lot by being spiritual. According to my research, the only evidence related to this assertion was that midadolescents are perhaps more open to the possibility of a transcendent reality beyond the observable universe.
This is a far stretch from saying that today’s adolescents are spiritual, for it is not the holy God as revealed in Scripture that they are pursuing. Those who are embracing Christian orthodoxy are in search of a more meaningful spiritual experience than the modernistic, rationalistic, cognitive, educational model they grew up on. For the vast majority of this new batch of midadolescents, however, the demands of biblical faith are not on their radar screens. This is all the more important as we consider the theological mandate of the youth ministry task.
We must care about what is happening in the adolescent world.
The church is called to “declare [God’s] power to the next generation, [God’s] might to all who are to come” (Ps. 71:18). This task, however, becomes increasingly difficult in a changing world and community context. Social rules and norms are changing, and even the process of adolescence itself is changing.
To all who are experiencing this critical and often difficult phase of life, we are called to proclaim and model the hope of the gospel and the reality of a living God who cares. To care for those in transition, we must make sure that what we do in ministry takes seriously the changing landscape. Those who are committed to declaring the Lord to adolescents, then, must be committed to reconnecting the young to the collective faith community.
That means we as adults must roll up our sleeves and go to adolescents, listen to them, and unconditionally care for them.