WHI-1205 | The State of Youth Ministry

Sunday, 11 May 2014

This week on the White Horse Inn, Dr. Horton and Kim Riddlebarger discuss the problems which plague modern youth ministry. They are joined by Alex Chediak, author of Preparing Your Teens for College, and Ryan Roach, a youth pastor in San Diego, and creator of a blog titled, Youth Ministry Reformation. Listen in as they discuss such questions as… “Is your church’s youth group part of the problem or part of the solution? What does it mean to internalize one’s faith? Why does youth ministry today need Reformation?”

“The fear of being bigoted, I think, is huge. I find that students who believe that Jesus is the only way to God will still say, ‘But if someone else doesn’t think that, I don’t think I should be telling them something contrary to what they believe.’ They don’t see any inconsistency there…Your private Jesus and your private salvation…Everyone else can figure out what they think is okay for them.”
– Ryan Roach
Youth/Teen Culture
The social category of ‘youth’ is a modern phenomenon which was constructed during the post-Second World War period in the West. This term ‘youth’ is often defined in opposition, and yet in relation, to adulthood. Not every culture or society has equal views of what this term may mean. This new social status has become a private space where young adults use their new access to information through media and new technologies to seemingly create their own culture. This movement to establish their own identity places them in a precarious situation of alienation which seems to place them in opposition to those who have different social identities (i.e. adults and children) and mediums of self-communication, failing to integrate them in the broader family. This restlessness and questioning is itself now part of their identity at this transitional time of life, which is often misunderstood and perceived by adults as inherently disrespectful and insolent, (which it may be in some cases). This process has become the new means by which he/she navigates the path from childhood to adulthood. In the past, the path from adolescence was never cast in tension with adulthood but seen within the confines and nurture adults provided to make the journey productive and healthy. In today’s youth culture, young people’s path is cast in opposition to those familial and social structures which had been seen as necessary in the past, taking a different path often defined by new technologies.
(Adapted from Shirley R. Steinberg, “Why Study Youth Culture?” in Contemporary Youth Culture: An International Encyclopedia, Volume 1)

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