Friday, February 08, 2008

The Passionate Youth Worker Part Deaux

I'm currently reading a book called "How The Irish Saved Civilization". In this book there is a great quote that Thomas Cahill spreads like a banquet before us and I believe applies to youth ministry. I will address the first part of the quote in this blog:

"What is really lost when a civilization wearies and grows small is confidence, a confidence built on the order and balance that leisure makes possible. Again (Dr. Kenneth) Clark "Civilisation requires a modicum (small amount) of material prosperity- enough to provide a little leisure. But, far more, it requires confidence - confidence in the society in which one lives,belief in it's philosophy, belief in it's laws, and confidence in one's own mental powers....Vigour, energy, vitality: All the great civilisations, or civilising epochs- have had a weight of energy behind them."

Wow, ok, you may have to read that a few times, I did. I will take the first part fo this quote and dissect it in this blog and save the second paragraph for my next blog.

We pastor small civilizations. Students are a collection of tribes which gather for weekly "war council". They are a society which gathers to talk, listen and engage one another. Most youth ministies do not require big buildings, video games, pool tables, etc. They are nice but they do not make the tribes who they are. You could empty your rooms and put nothing but a ball in there and you students would create their own fun and would be better than anything we could dream up. Why? These students need very little in materials but need much on relationships. It is not the ball that bring the energy but the interaction with one another.

This energy comes from the need to agree. Agree on rules, standards, etc. To have the maximum amount of fun there must be agreement. Also in our tribe are triabl leaders and they include our Pastor, Board, Staff, Youth Leaders and Parents. For our group of tribes to function as the chruch there must be:

First and foremost a commitment and confidence in Christ the person and savior.If a group does not have confidence in their own salvation much time will be spent in pursuading them that they are saved and they must live for Christ.

The second confidence is in it's philosophy. In other words, how our youth ministry get's done. This is where there must be agreement on what programs are offered and how those programs are carried out.

The third confidence is in it's laws. What is your groups mission or purpsoe statement? Do you provide ways for students to fulfill this purpose or mission. I beleive thsi also goes to how fairness and judgement is carried out within your group. Does the trouble maker always get to go on the retreat? Do you always use the same people and play favorites?

The fourth and final confidence is in their own mental powers. The tribes will function better when they understand that anyone in the group can make it and attain a level of respect. The only way for students to gain this confidence in themsleves is for them to attempt the daring and fail greatly all the while having adults below with a safety net and an affirmation that they will do it next time.

In order for us to have passionate youth ministries we must create a society of confident students. Many leave the chruch because they have lost confidence in the above principles that made these societies work.If your youth group balloon is losing air(confidence) and altitude(success); take stock to see which hole of confidence you need to plug.


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