I’ve been wondering about something. I’m wondering who will be the new voices of Youth Ministry?
20 years ago, the YM pond was only so big. There were certain names you came to know; Rice, Yac, Burns, Campolo, Robbins, and Fields just to think of a few. These voices have shaped what youth ministry is today. Publishing companies like Youth Specialties and Group gave us the resources and tools to help us entertain, teaching, shock, surprise, and understand the teenagers we loved.
But it seems to me that the landscape is changing. Where once the annual convention was the epicenter of knowledge, training and ideas, the internet has opened an extremely wide door allowing an ocean of opinions to flood the cramped youth pastor’s office. Websites, blogs, facebook pages, podcasts, vlogs, and self-published books are massing. Everyone and anyone with an idea, thought, or opinion can now express their “wisdom” for all the world to see, read, or hear.
Suddenly the pond we used to wade in has become a sea and we’re treading water trying to keep our heads above the waves.
I’m not saying it’s bad, but is it good? Is it helpful? Is it Kingdom building? Or is it ego building? Is it instructive? Or is it time consuming? Who has something to say worth reading, and who just wants to talk? Who is in it for the ministry, and who is in it for the glory?
I think there’s a danger in all of this, if we’re not careful. The danger comes if and when, we spend more time reading and/or writing about relationships and ministry than actually building relationships and doing ministry. We can get lost reading blog after blog after blog of how to build and “big” youth group and never get out to meet the kids “in” our youth group. With all the talk, who is rising to the surface as the next voice of wisdom?
I mean, we need those who can share, teach, encourage, and train. But do we need all of them?
Who will be the next voices to help shape the youth ministry culture as we head into the next year, five years, ten years? Who has something worth hearing? Who has the insight worth sharing? It should go beyond the blogs, the book deals, the speaking circuits, the podcasts. Who will be the ones God calls to lead, train, encourage, equip, and engage the youth workers of tomorrow?
What do you think? Are there too many voices? Who’s worth reading? Who has something useful? Who will challenge and push us?
Share the blogs, podcasts, speakers and writers that are beginning to reshape the youth ministry world. Let’s beginning thinning out the noise and start finding the voices that will define our careers and calling for the next 20 years. Type your suggestions, recommendations, and resources that you believe are above the noise. No self promotion. After all, it’s not about us, right?