What Six Years of Church Family Based Youth Ministry Looks Like

Originally published June 2007.

Six years ago I led my church "hook, line and sinker" into the family-based youth ministry paradigm. Our decisions for doing it had a lot to do with our then situation which, of course, had some problems. The situation presented the pastors and I an opportunity to try out this new kind of youth ministry that all of us had stumbled onto individually. When we all started talking about what do to, we were tickled and surprised to find that all of us were on the same page with this new direction.

Now that we are six years into it, I can honestly say that the fruit of what we've created (and I continually stress we as this is on the entire pastoral staff) is not completely what I've envisioned but the fruit is good.

Youth Ministry in the Church Family

Originally published October 2000.

High school life is really a bubble.  It’s own world tucked away from the real world.  It is an entire existence, an entire culture, that has little to do with real life. Yes, it is all about preparing adolescents for adulthood but the culture, or subculture, has overtaken.  Watch any sophomore learn and strain to learn a geometic formula, struggle to get that earned C, and never have a use for it again.  Or watch a junior girl spend hours (and too much money) for a prom date with a guy she's "just friends" with only to have no conversation at dinner and a few dances at the prom and think this was a grown up experience.  Or checkout the friends they have and are loyal to, often to the point of breaking the law, but who do not become groomsmen and bridesmaids at their weddings.

True, teens do experience real life.  Pregnancies, addictions and empty homes are experiences all to real to teens.  So real they affect them for the rest of their lives.  The affects are so large because that bubble burst.

Sunday Service, Of Sorts

Originally published January 1999.

I recently went to a Sunday service, of sorts. The Minnesota Vikings were playing the Baltimore Ravens. Only one hour from home.

Viking fans from as far as Connecticut and South Carolina congregated at the NFL Stadium at Camden Yards. We met around food at the tailgate party. One thousand-plus of us Viking fans at that alone. Half of the 68,000 in the stadium who were Viking fans.

We had music. We had our guest preachers, Stu Voight, tight end during the Purple People Eater days and the owner of the Vikings, Red McCombs. Their preaching certainly raised the crowds. Everyone was there in their Sunday best of purple and gold. Everyone was welcomed with loud exclamations and hugs and high fives. We may not have known who they were, which was the majority, but we were all welcomed if they had on their Sunday best--or were just with someone in purple and gold.