- Neo-Youth Ministry Series Introduction
- Neo-Youth Ministry Part 1: “Youth”
- Neo-Youth Ministry Part 2: “Ministry”
- Neo-Youth Ministry Part 3: The Youth Minister
- Neo-Youth Ministry Part 4: The Youth Minister as Theologian
- Neo-Youth Ministry Part 5: The Youth Minister as Pastor
- Neo-Youth Ministry Part 6: Youth Minister as Spiritual Director
- Neo-Youth Ministry Part 7: The Youth Minister as Prophet
- Neo-Youth Ministry Part 8: The Youth Minister as Youth Advocate
- Neo-Youth Ministry Part 9: The Youth Minister as Interpreter and Synthesizer
- Neo-Youth Ministry Methods: Education and Teaching
- Neo-Youth Ministry Methods: The End of Bait and Switch
- Neo-Youth Ministry Methods: Local and Contextual
A Neo-Youth Ministry will contain significantly less traditional educational time and programs than current youth ministry practice. For some reason, we have been taught to equate depth and maturity with Bible knowledge. I would say that a lot of youth groups have about three main “programs”, each of which tend to center around Bible knowledge: Sunday School, “youth group”, and small groups. In each of these contexts the “meat” is portrayed as being the lesson, sermon, or study time. Any relational benefit is secondary.
A common desire of teens (in my experience) who are ready to “take their faith to the next level” is to participate in a more “in-depth” Bible study (usually in Romans). My response to them has been to say that when they actually do the things that characterize “shallow” teaching (like love your neighbor, forgive your friends, get along with your parents) then we will begin that more “in-depth” Bible study.
A Neo-Youth ministry will not measure depth by Bible study, but by action. We cannot exist in order to fill the brains of our students. We exist in order that lives may be transformed. One of the key cultural myths in American that the church has bought into is that knowledge is the most important factor in affecting life-change. Well, I disagree. If that were the case, tobacco companies and fast-food chains would go out of business, 16 year-olds wouldn’t speed, and people wouldn’t take on more debt than they could afford. It is a factor, but not the factor. No, education alone does not change people. The Holy Spirit does, and the means by which the Holy Spirit works is the church.
Instead of studying educational techniques and theory, a Neo-Youth Minister will study practices and seek to ingrain spiritual practices in the lives of their teens.