I just finished reading Mark Oestreicher’s book Youth Ministry 3.0, and yes I know it is old news but guess what I don’t care. I buy my books from the used book store and I figure if the information is any good it should still be relevant. Everyone is always like “hey did you read that new book by blah blah” and I’m all like “hey have you heard of this guy Watchman Nee? I’d like him to sign my book.”
Anyway that has nothing to do with anything. I just want to take a minute of your time and tell you why you should read or not read this book (Youth Ministry 3.0). I think the information is good, I think the messages on the sides of the pages are helpful, and I think that by and large you can put into practice a lot of the things in the book even if you are not in youth ministry.
You are willing to change
You are willing to grow
You desire to see maturity in your life and the life of your students
You are somewhat tired of coming up with a new and exciting game for youth every week
Don’t Read If:
You love being the Messiah
You really enjoy being the Rock Star of the church
You think that numbers equal fruit
You are dyslexic
Everyone has a different major take away from reading a book and my major number one takeaway from reading this book was missions. If a kid is allowing you in their life then understand you are a visitor not a resident. Think back to your own childhood / adolescence. You might have let some adults in but not all the way in. If they got too close you changed the rules so they could not longer be close. It is the same nowadays only worse (I think). So if we are going to minister to youth we need to understand we do not have all the info most of the time. Most of the time they only give us what they want us to have and if we take to much they lose interest.
Music is a great example because it is always changing. My daughter was really into Adele for a while. She would sing it in the shower and on her karaoke machine. She would ask me to play it while we drove somewhere it was all she listened to. However once I started to listening to it on my own she no longer had interest. I had taken something she liked and made it my own so she could no longer have it. I had accidentally stolen part of her identity. It was an honest mistake but a mistake nonetheless. Now she has moved on and is trying to find something new but won’t let me know what it is. Now of course I do know because she does not use headphones so I hear almost everything. But she is guarding that part of herself.
What I learned (or was reminded of) is even though she is my daughter she is a mission field to me and if she lets me in on something I need to be careful not to take her things on as my own. I think to some extend and this is just a hunch that some of the problems we see youth facing today are in a way our fault as leaders for taking what they like as our own. They are into this so we put it in church, or watch it, or pin it, or post it, or whatever. So the only response they have is to go somewhere we are not willing to go. This way they have their own person-ness (just made that word up).
I am in no way suggesting we should not know what they are into, but we do not necessarily have to embrace everything they like after all we are the adults maybe we should learn what we like by now. Maybe instead of conforming to their culture we just need to know about so we can lead them out of the dangerous stuff.
I know the videos she watches because I go through her devices. I have learned what / who Miranda Sings is and we have spoken about some of her videos. We know what she listens to and my wife has spoken with her about some song choices. But I have also decided that I need to let her have some things so that she will not try and go to an extreme just to be unique.
My daughter is a mission field, and if I am to help her grow and learn what it is to follow Christ then I need to learn about her, study her, and find out what makes her tick. But like being a missionary that does not mean I become a native but instead I choose to be an ambassador to her. Are the other youths I lead any different?
Just a thought,