Saturday, October 08, 2005

IS A SHARED VISION A BAD THING IN CONNECTIONAL MINISTRY?



Apparently The Wesley Blog and some of Shane Raynor's readers think so. I'm not sure what Shane's reason to criticize a meeting of 30 church leaders who represented 7 agencies of the United Methodist Church whose sole purpose was to discuss and discern ways they could work more "effectively" together to reach out to youth, young adults and those who work with them.

Raynor: "Let me say up front that I'm happy to see the focus on youth and college kids, but if we see a need to bring all of our agencies together for a summit, we probably have too many agencies."

Shane is probably right when he states that there may be too many agencies, however, he offers no solutions (at least solutions that would ever be taken seriously). The people that make up the agencies are generally passionate, intelligent, called to ministy, and have a desire to see our churches thrive and suceed.

I personally know many of the folks who work at the Division on Ministries with Young People. Some are young adults themselves, some have been in youth ministry for a number of years and bring sage wisdom to the Board but they all are gifted and passionate about youth and young adult ministry.

Shane stated: "As I mentioned earlier, I'm happy that we're addressing this issue, but instead of doing arts and crafts (no offense ladies, but I'm thinking there's no way a guy was running this meeting)..."

The use of art as a form of communication can be much more powerful than simple discussion. Artistic expression allows a group to delve deeper into the heart of certain issues and allows a group to tear away various layers that sometimes can be threatening or awkward- and its done in a playful manner. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the use of art as a way to promote communication in a meeting. In fact, I use it in most of my youth meetings- so I find it especially appropriate for YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT LEADERS in our agencies to emulate communication styles that are appropriate and useful in youth ministry. If you've not seen art used in a youth/young adult church setting check this resource out- it is full of churches who still value art as a way to experience the presence of God.

Shane stated: ..."why not actually bring in some teenagers and young adults and see what they think? Or find the United Methodist congregations that are good at ministering to people under 30 and get them to help other churches figure out how to do the same thing? A movement is more likely to start at the grass roots than at the top. "

I know for a fact that some of these various boards or agencies that are geared towards youth and young adults DO INDEED bring in youth and young adults. Not only do they do so, but they employ young adults. There are quite a few employees at the Division On Ministry With Young People and Young Adult Ministry that are well... um... young adults.

They also have a steering committee made up of youth and young adults that help guide the direction of the division. As far as finding UMC congregations that are good at ministering to people under 30? Well, they are doing this too.

Just a few weeks ago I spent the day with several folks from the GBOD who work at that division, along with a couple of campus ministers, a Conference Youth Director, and the head of the Center For Church Leadership at Martin Methodist College. The reason we came together? To talk about why young adults drop out of church and how we can reach out to them. Next steps include focus groups made up of youth, college age and post college young adults. After that? Well, we figure that out after the data that we gather.

Mr. Raynor, I understand that you read an article, processed it with little information to go on. But a few of your readers, who have been much more critical and way LESS articulate and generous to those folks who work at these boards and agencies, deserve better from you this time. And given the amount of critcism and degree of "unarticulateness" a few have shown- I beg you to be a bit more responsible next time.


peace,
jonathon

6 comments:

Scott said...

Jonathan,

It may be time for the Old Testament curse generator. I would hate for you to go nuclear like that, but it may be deemed necessary.

Seriously, this is a wonderful and gracious attempt to offer unity and harmony when something important to you (and to the church) is unfairly caricatured.

Grace and Peace,
Scott

St.Phransus said...

I pray thou shalt beget difficult teenagers, O ye Amalekite dog!

Shane Raynor said...

Jonathon,
I think you misunderstood my article. I wasn't attacking anyone, or questioning anyone's sincerity. I was just making a few observations and suggestions, and having a little fun in the process. I think you know how much I support youth and young adult ministry.

St.Phransus said...

You know that I know that you know that I know that you support youth ministry :) I mean you are one!

I was just trying to add my own observations in response to what I read in yours.

shalom bro,
jonathon

John said...

I think that it may be fun to make fun of the excess of committees in a church, but in my experience, committees aren't the people who cause obstructions, so much as they are the people who get work done.

But maybe I'm falsely projecting what I've seen at local churches to the district, conference, and national levels.

Ciona said...

Thanks for educating, Jonathan! Observations/opinions are great, but they should be well informed.