Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why Youth Ministry

I'm a church rat.

For those of you who do not speak "Christianese" this means I was brought up in the church.  From the time I was a child my parents taught me about the Lord, about sin, and about Jesus.  I never knew a day where I did not know that my so-called "good works" were laced with bad motives and pride and that my only way for a relationship with a holy God and with His body was the sacrifice of His Son.  Peace preached, spiritual family...yet for a long time I felt very alone.

Admittedly, I'm an odd ball.  If you're friends with me in real life, on Facebook or Pintrest, or if you read this blog you know that all too well.  Another memory from childhood is my overactive imagination; the stories ebbed and flowed in my mind, taking me into my own little world, but often coming out for a peak, my characters tripping into real life...and soon the teasing started.  Inevitably I began to prefer my imaginary world to reality.  I didn't want to face the rejection, rejection I didn't understand, rejection from my peer group in and outside of the church.

Then I entered Junior High, arguably the most awkward and painful time in our existence (ok, slightly overdramatic, but then I am talking about the beginning of puberty, so it seemed appropriate).  The arms of my youth group pulled me in, accepting me, challenging me, teaching me.  I was confronted with sin, included in group activities, considered a friend, and the imaginary world began to look a little less dreamy.  I was still me, oddness and all, but for the first time my peer group didn't seem so scary.  Moreover, through the discipleship of the staff I wrestled with difficult questions about my faith, realizing quickly that I believed what my parents had taught me all those years, owning my faith.

For this reason I believe youth ministry is a vital one.  Not that youth, or any Ecclesiastes 3:1).  
age group, should be separate from the rest of the body, but that they, like every age group, have distinctive needs.  This, of course, can be done wrong; as a culture there is nowhere near enough intergenerationality (spell check is telling me that's not a word, I choose to ignore it), but there is a time and a place for everything (

So what is your opinion on youth ministry?  Objections?  Rebuttals?  

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