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My last post on 10 Things Youth Ministry Needs Less generated a lot more discussion than I expected. The comments left on that post were quite insightful, so make sure to go back and read the comments if you haven’t yet.
But the point of my last post wasn’t to simply be a critic, but to make space for things that I think are really important. For example, if your youth ministry currently puts on a midweek worship service, how much time and energy would you free up for yourself and the other leaders in your ministry if you canceled it? I would expect quite a lot. So, if we’re going to be doing less of certain things, what kinds of things do we need more?
Students - Adults - Adults - Way - Plenty
1. Adults—Our students don’t need adults to teach them, they need adults who know them. And the only way they can be truly known is by making sure there are plenty of adults around who care about them and listen to them. Unless your adult to student ratio is 10:1, you could use more.
2. Intimacy—I think we need to quit using the word relationships (“It’s all about the relationships”) and instead start talking about intimacy. We don’t need to do more activities to build relationships, we need to build more intimacy within our relationships. Intimacy tells what kinds of relationships we are trying to develop. If we are going to truly know the young people in our congregations, we are going to have to talk about things that matter, not just what happened at school this week. Having a 20-minute breakout group after a sermon isn’t enough time for our students to develop intimacy with other adults or students. You need extended blocks of time over the long-term to truly develop intimacy.
4. Scripture—Scripture teaches us how...
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