Send me your kids who want to have fun and I'll send you my kids who want to learn.
Yesterday I was visiting with a Senior Pastor and Youth Pastor of a church here in a small town in Oklahoma. I am coaching them and will be working with them to train some of their youth workers. These folks desire to be church B. They have a missional approach to ministry that to some, feels less flashy than the average youth ministry.
So the youth pastor (let's call him Nate) was talking to the youth pastor down the street, who is in his 50's. As Nate was describing his ministry to this older youth pastor this is what the other youth pastor said to him.
"You send me your kids who want to have fun and I'll send you my kids who want to learn."--posted by Gerald Fees
I totally get this. I just turned 50. I was raised under youth ministry professors who tried finding the balance to give to use youth ministry and Christian ed students, but hey, we were college students and we were already all about fun.
Bookstores where we purchased our course books also had a plethora of GAMES books, ICE BREAKERS, and more came out every year. The church in which I served had a library of these books. This seemed to communicate an expectation.
It wasn't always so for me.
In fact, if I could go back to those days, I would. I have sacrificed so much to programming.
When I took a youth ministry position in 2005, I wanted to go back to the old days, and for the most part, I did. Those kids still have a relational bond with me and contact me. Several still visit. Some pastors tell me this breaks some pirate code that I am not to ever go back to the church I have served or interfere with a minister's people. I see this differently. These are people who are coming to me. And these are people whom I invested in relationally. And Paul revisited churches he had formerly preached at (so BAMB!).
I guess what I am saying here is that if all kids are going to say about the memories of youth group and how much fun they had, and who was there doing what, and how much they traveled to all of the activities they, it seems like they enjoyed this world too much.
But if the kids in my ministry look back and have memories of how they were loved, accepted, forgiven, and how those memories were reinforced because of the relationships we forged together, and somehow recognize the value in that--I think God can use that to bring their hearts back to him if necessary, or help them to see what is the most important things in their lives now. --kk
updated from first publication on Aug 28, 2006.