What will student ministry look like in an increasingly post-Christian context?

Our culture is changing, shouldn't our ministries adapt as well?One of the areas of passion for me is contextualization. As our context becomes more and more post-Christian, I am realizing that the way forward is going to be complex and challenging. Because of this a couple of the youth pastors in my network whom I love and respect decided that we should host an event to wrestle through some of these issues.

We genuinely believe that the the community of youth workers in our context will have a much better shot finding a way forward than a book by an author from a totally different context or by the oner person with the biggest personality and loudest voice pushing their agenda.

In October we are going to take a big swing and gather our peeps from the Bay Area for this conversation. If you call the Bay Area home, would you consider coming? If you consider me a friend, would you come as a personal favor :) If you are no where near us, please pray for us and feel free to chime in!

Over the next week I am going to expand some of my thoughts regarding the changing culture and the need for a changing picture to communicate the Gospel with students who live in an increasingly post-Christian context.

Below is our events page. Check it out, sign up, and join the conversation.

Bay Area Youth Ministry Forum

You are invited to be a part of a day long discussion on the present and future of youth ministry. Your voice and experience is needed to wrestle with and understand the complexity of our context.

We live in an increasingly post-christian, entitled, and hyper-scheduled culture. At the same time, we are called by God and by the church to present the gospel to this next generation. But where is the thin place the gospel can truly enter into this worldview?

The world our students live in is dramatically changing. It is vital for those who are called to reach students to understand these shifts and adjust accordingly. We want to spend the day wrestling with two questions:

1) What is the crisis in these students lives that the gospel solves? In general, for our parents, the crisis was one of rebellion and the solution was justification. Our crisis is one of brokenness and the solution is redemption. For our students???

2) How do we structure a program within the church to that meets the real needs of students and satisfies the expectations of our church leadership?

We are glad to have Mark Oestreicher join us as our facilitator in this forum. Mark has over 30 years of experience and has been a part of all the major conversations regarding youth ministry for the last decade. He is an expert on culture, adolescent development, and church systems. time with him alone will make this forum worthy your while.

Would you consider bringing your expertise of our culture and context to the table as we work together to answer these important questions?

Important Information: Who: Youth workers who do ministry within the context of the local church in the bay area. Where: BayMarin Community Church 150 N. San Pedro Rd. San Rafael, CA 94903 When: Saturday October 6. 9am - 4:00. Optional dinner and drinks with Mark afterwards. Cost: $59 early bird registration. $69 after August . Lunch is included. Scholarships available. Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/232816

As you register, we would love for you to post an article to the blog jacobswell.me on anything and everything regarding the complexity of issues surrounding these questions.

Coming May 3rd, 2013 Youth Ministry Justice Conference. Now that you are home from your Spring Break Mission Trip, how do we bring what we learned back home to our everyday lives at school, our community and world? What does it look like for our students to live a life of service and justice? This event will be for youth workers and students.

what is the single objective of youth ministry?

the main thing

This was a question posed by one of the best thinkers in the blogosphere, Paul Martin. You should check out his blog at beingministry.com. I was invited to share my option along with some really amazing thinkers in youth ministry. It is a great conversation and I am honored to participate. On Tuesday Joel Mayward and Adam Mclane shard their thoughts. Today myself and Jeremy Zach give our thoughts. And tomorrow Mark Oestreicher and Mark Riddle wrap it up. Join the conversation. (Don't tell Paul that I am not really in the same league as these guys. It will be our secret) Here is how I answered: "In our ministry, we want our students to graduate from our student ministry to see Christianity as a viable option for them in adulthood and for the church to be viable community for them as adults. Our assumption is that there will be wandering and exploring after their time in student ministry and at some point they will reflect on their time with us, the church and our hope is that their memory of this time is that they will always have a place among our community. Think of what might have gone through the prodigal's son mind at his lowest point. He knew the father's house was always an option for him to return.

As young adults, students need a bigger faith picture than God doesn't want you to have sex or drink and that evolution is wrong. Once they go to college and realize evolution is plausible and, in fact, the orthodoxy of higher education combined with the reality that having sex and drinking isn't the end of the world, our students realize that their simple faith of childhood now as some gigantic holes. Their flannel graph version of Christianity doesn't fit in this amoral context and the church along with their faith gets discarded as something nice from their childhood, like Poekemon.

We must be passing on a genuine and real, experiential encounter with the creator of the world and the one in whom it is redeemed. This can only happen in a community that has at is foundation grace and love for the students in their unique developmental season of life. As they make dumb decisions, how we "disciple" them can make or break their ever considering re-entry as a true possibility."

Bethlehemian Rhapsody!

bethlehemian rhapsody

A really clever video to get you in the christmas spirit!  And thanks MarkO for some great fun this Christmas season on your blog!  If you aren't already reading whyismarko.com, bookmark him today and add him to your reader.  You will be blessed!  


(for more fun, check out his 27 worst nativity sets and growing list as well)