Read my first post here.
I don’t think Youth Ministry (YM for now on) as sexy is necessarily a bad thing but bad things have risen from it. I like to call it the American Idol Effect or simply, AIE. AIE can be defined as the belief that someone actually has talent and can sing because of so many participants flocking towards American Idol. Each year there are hundreds of people who just do not have the talent, skills and drive to have what it takes to be a singer. For some reason no mentor ever sat down with them to talk about their gifts and abilities and that singing is not where they were needed. It’s like when you go to a high-school football game and hear a student talk about how they are going to work hard to get a D-I scholarship. You want to believe that they can do it but you know their talent, skill-set and drive is not what it takes to compete at that level.
The AIE is seen in YM in all over the country. I have discussions with would-be youth ministers who are at college or seminary studying to be a youth minister and they want to do the job because of their experience of youth ministry in high-school. At first, this seems completely harmless and is actually a good reason to go into youth ministry but the response to their experience is criticial. On a number of occasions I have heard this statement: “I want to do youth ministry because it looks like a fun job and I get to hang out and go to some pretty cool places.” When I hear that I cringe a little. OK…a lot!!! Their experience in youth group is completely tied to external activities and they have yet to be exposed to the internal ups, downs, heartaches, disappointments, victories, planning, scheduling, praying, discerning, listening, confessing and forgiving aspects of YM.
People think, “Anyone can do YM” and the result is harm to youth programs, parents, students and churches all over. I wish YM majors had some sort of discernment process to see if YM is where God needs them. Sometimes all the cards point to YM and then for one reason or another it just does not work out. I get that. Yet, because the popularity of YM is at a high right now, there are more people getting YM gigs who should not be getting them.
- Do you know of a discernment process to help would-be YM majors distinguish if God is calling them into YM or not?
- Do you think I am off in my assessment about the attractiveness of YM garnering, at times, people who have no business working with youth?
- How can mentoring, interning, and other shadowing help in discernment of a YM calling?
- What would you add to this discussion?
Tomorrow we will look at some good things that have come about because of the attractiveness of YM.