1. What Deep and Wide Youth Ministry is Not (pages 3-4)
It is not just another approach to youth ministry
I found it interesting that the thesis tries to convince us that “Deep and Wide Youth Ministry is not a gimmick or a method” (3) and then goes on to use words like “X-factor” (gimmick) and argues the necessity of this particular approach to ministry (method). Okay, it’s not a “method” in the strictest sense of describing exactly what needs to be happening in your ministry, but DWYM is talked about as if it is a non-negotiable way to envision doing ministry. Maybe it isn’t a model, but it is an orienting paradigm for doing ministry (on the summary on page one it describes itself as a “model”). When it says it’s not just “another” approach, I get the feeling they are saying it is the approach.
It is not a simple approach to youth ministry
DWYM portrays itself as cutting “across the grain of the entrenched youth ministry philosophy” found in most churches, but I’m not so sure. Most youth ministers I talk to have moved well past the fun and games model of ministry and are trying to pursue something deeper. When most Christian colleges are offering bachelors degrees in youth ministry and many seminaries are offering masters and doctorates in youth ministry fields, we have moved past thinking of youth ministry as an entertainment-heavy endeavor.
In fact, I wonder if youth ministries that consider themselves to be doing a good job at evangelism might be the ones that are heavily-oriented towards entertainment models of ministry. That seems very plausible, but it’s really just conjecture.
At the very least, D2S is trying to articulate that doing youth ministry isn’t easy or simple. They didn’t just give the seven steps to DWYM and put their guarantee on the results, which I am thankful for.
It is not optional
I agree that following the Great Commission is not be optional, but that does not mean that DWYM is a non-negotiable. As I stated before, there are some foundational problems with the DWYM approach. I’m all for the Great Commission, but Jesus gave us the Great Commission, the rest of scripture, and himself, not DWYM.
More thoughts on DWYM to follow tomorrow, much of which I like!