How Do We Institute Change Within the Church?
I frequent Pastor2Youth which is an online resource for Youth Pastor’s. I have been a member on the forums for about 5 years now. I have developed some good friendships and it has become a place that acts as a good sounding board for me with different ideas and thoughts on ministry. It is a great resource that is available for free.
Once in a while a post catches my attention. The other day a post did just that. Here’s what it said:
“We are having our quarterly youth day the end of this month
Now this is a big thing for our church because this is the time we get to expose the church to new and modern innovations. Videos in service, modern worship music, DRUMS etc etc etc. I really go the extra mile to make it as professional as possible given my limited resources.
But I need a name. “Youth Day” just seems so bland and uncreative but I am kinda stuck
I thought this would make a god blog post so I contacted the author of the post and he agreed to let me use it. This is a question that YP’s deal with a lot when it comes to helping to institute change into the local church they serve. Sometimes we do so without thinking about those around us. I have some pretty strong opinions on this. I spent some time really trying to flesh out my thoughts below.
I would just not name it. If it’s a normal Sunday morning service why name it anything at all? One of my passions is seeing our students united with our adults within the church. Student ministry is really to blame for a lot of the alienation form the adult congregation. I’m not saying the adults don’t play a role but really we do too. We have to have things our way…at least in the past. What does naming the service do? I know an argument may be “it gives ownership to the students.” Here’s an interesting observation – it already belongs to them if they are part of the body of Christ. you aren’t selling a product (the student ministry) you are trying to unify two groups of people that should be one.
Here are some things to think about;
1) does naming it something cool alienate the older adults further from the youth?
2) does naming it tell the adults, “We are better than you because we have a name for the service besides the Biblical name of “Church”?
3) what is the purpose of the service? If it’s to ’show off’ the student ministry then don’t do the service. If it’s to help unify different generations then do it to the best of your ability.
4) are you throwing too much at them? You mentioned drums, video, contemp music and a name change of the service JUST for the youth. My question is – is it too much?
Here is where the alienation comes in: Sometimes we feel like we have to throw everything out at once to get them to see what ‘our ministry is like.’ I think that’s where we are at fault for pushing the older adults away instead of embracing them and bringing them toward us. What I have learned is that the older adults want to see the students worship like them – that’s not all bad. Believe me I’m not saying don’t use technology. You know the things I do – I use a TON of technology on Wednesday nights…but when we do the service for the adults on the 5th Sunday of a month we take over the service by filling in the roles that the adults do. I might use a video once in a while even. Do we rock out like we do on Wednesday nights? No. We do add a song we might do but I am cautious with what we do. I don’t break out my electric – instead I use my acoustic.
I know what you may be thinking, “But they need to see how we do things so they can appreciate it” I’m not so sure. So why do the same things that are done in an adult service when the youth have the chance to lead the service? Here’s how I see it:
It’s like being a missionary to an indigenous tribe of people. Would you go there and do things in their face that are counter cultural and run the risk of pushing them further form the Gospel and potentially getting you killed? No you wouldn’t. You would spend time getting to know their culture and pick up on things that could change that would HELP them embrace the cross better – which may or may not lead to doing things radically different down the road. It’s the same thing when we lead the service with students. We are missionaries of youth culture to the indigenous tribe of older people. We need to respect the way they’ve done things while gently showing them change isn’t bad. You don’t want to go in and radically change things and run the risk of ticking them off and getting killed – losing your voice with them. Also you can use the modes of worship the older adults use to teach the students valuable lessons about respecting our elders (as the Bible teaches) and that their way of worship – while different – isn’t necessarily bad either.
So many times we alienate those we are trying to reach or sometimes even change by throwing too much at them.
That’s my two cents for what it’s worth.
Who I Am
My name is Chris Day. I have been in student ministry now for 13 years and I still love it. There is nothing more exciting for me than to see a student move into a relationship with Christ and become a follower/ disciple of Christ. I am passionate about seeing God move students into deeper relationships with him. I am also the worship leader at our church. I write worship songs as well and have lead worship at a conference for missionaries in Poland. That was a pretty cool experience!
In my spare time I love working out and playing disc golf. I have been on a journey over the past year to reclaim my health and have dropped 110 pounds in the process. i have played over 30 different disc golf course and love helping people learn the game. I am pretty laid back and easy to get along with. I hope you find my contributions helpful!