i’m a youth specialties forum junkie. i’m not really sure when it happened (i think around my 50th post i was hooked) but i know that it is true and there is no use in trying to deny it. i enjoy the banter, humor, encouragement, and fights that take place on the forum. i enjoy the fact that i am sometimes challenged to reconsider what i believe and sometimes i merely want to slap someone upside the head because they can’t understand what i’m trying to say. it’s an enjoyable place that i like to visit every now and then (actually i like to visit it alot).
i ran across the above thread and it has left me a little confused. i understand what mark riddle is trying to say in his letter but i don’t understand how a ministry could get to the point that someone could say this about that ministry. mark riddle’s basic point is that youth ministry separates teens from the church and thus is failing. i would have to agree that when a youth ministry does separate it’s teens from the rest of the church then it does fail. you set these teens up for a fall. you set them up to think that the rest of CHRISTianity will be one big “youth group” and when that doesn’t happen they simply turn their back on CHRISTianity. this is my problem with some (and i do mean “some” here) para church youth ministries. they separate teens from the church and IMHO guarantee that those teens won’t become a part of a church after high school. i think it’s destructive.
my problem with mark riddle’s letter is that i don’t see how any effective youth ministry can become like what he is describing. adults becoming involved within the youth’s lives and the youth becoming involved within the lives of other church members is a natural thing within an effective youth ministry. i don’t see how it can be any other way. maybe “youth groups” can separate from the rest of the church but youth ministries have to be a part of the church. the whole measure of a youth ministry is whether or not it is building up the bride of CHRIST, so how could the teens and church not be involved within each other’s lives.