Tuesday, October 18, 2005



Youth ministry is moving away from parties, picnics, Fear Factor kinds of things, to much more serious Bible study, prayer and things of that sort. I was at a Methodist conference in Pittsburgh, and the speaker was talking about youth ministry. He said he had tried everything in the book to get youth to come to the church: pizza parties, retreats, the whole thing. One day, he said, it was like God spoke to me: “You know, these kids have plenty of parties connected with school and so on.” So I shut the whole thing down and just started a Friday night prayer meeting and Bible study. He said, “I’ve no room for all the kids that are coming.” That’s a phenomenon that other people speak of. Howe and Strauss talk about this. There is a new seriousness about young people, millennial people. They don’t want to be entertained. They want to be challenged. They want a faith that is challenging as opposed to a Christianity that is entertaining.


This pastor is just the opposite of the Pragmatist, CEO model, the Standard Oil CEO operation, running a big business, which is exactly what the megachurch has become. It’s become a big business. The concept of the pastor for the Younger evangelical is to go back to being the shepherd. They don’t like big churches. They don’t want big churches. They want small churches. There’s a church here in Wheaton. One of the younger pastors decided he was called to go down into Chicago to start a series of neighborhood churches. So he talked to the church about this, and the church decided to support him. They encouraged some of their families to actually move into this Chicago area where they’re going. And they did. They started a church that is essentially a neighborhood church. Their goal is to have 100 neighborhood churches in this area in Chicago, and they would come together once in a while to have worship — more like the New Testament model, the house church.

I find this going on all over the United States. They don’t want to be known. This church I just referred to was mentioned in my book, but they only agreed to let me use their example on the condition that I wouldn’t identify them or say where the church is located. They said, “We don’t want to get known.” They want to be known in our community, but our goal is not to get known. This is very different from the goal of the Pragmatists.So you find a servanthood model, a shepherd model. You also find a team model in the new emerging church. As opposed to having, say, a senior pastor. No one would use that term. No one would stand up and say, “I am the Senior Pastor.” They would only say, “I’m one of the pastors.” The other thing, too, is that a lot of these younger people are willing to work, to be schoolteachers, or trades people. They want to go to the city. There’s a tremendous interest in rebuilding the city. So they’ll work during the week and pastor the church on the weekend.


Zoomdaddy said...

youth min.:
awesome to hear about this trend.

totally wholehearted amen. right now i am actually looking to go back to school and get certified to teach so i can do bivocational ministry. i am blown away by what webber said. it encourages my heart deeply and serves to confirm this new sense of direction i am discerning.

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