I find my self thinking a lot about the future of youth ministry and the future of the church.
About a year ago, I studied what it means to be the church with our youth group. We spent an entire semester on it, looking at Acts, the Gospels, and many of the letters; most notably 1 and 2 Corinthians. Corinth was a very busy and important port city, because it was the little sliver dividing two major water ways. Because of this, Corinth was a mesh of all different types of people, from different backgrounds, and different classes. It is what was beautiful and difficult about the church at Corinth.
When we studied these passages, we decided
The Body of Christ is about ONENESS and UNIQUENESS.
I think ONENESS has become forgotten in our culture today, especially in the US. Too often, the church down the street is seen as the competitor, not the teammate. I think that this is because of the “I” complex. We, I mean, I am the only thing that matters, and even when I read scripture it is about what I can get out of it for me. So when we read passages that call us to ONENESS, we think that means we need to be one within our local church, and sometimes not even that. What we are called to as the Church is ONENESS as a whole. This means not just our church, not just our denomination, but the Church universal. You know “one, holy, catholic (universal), and apostolic Church.” Or maybe “They will know we are Christians by our love,” but we can’t even love each other?
As I dream about the future of youth ministry and the Church, it greatly involves the uniting of the Church universal again. Churches working together, seeking where God is at work already in their community and joining in, together.
But I think that the Church and youth ministry future needs to have an increased UNIQUENESS. When we stop worrying about what it happening down the street and trying to copy that. Or trying to read the newest book on “How to build the best youth ministry (or church) ever.” We open our eyes to our own context, our congregation and community, and we discover our UNIQUENESS. We discover the special and specific needs of our community, and using the specific and unique gifts of our community, partner with God to speak hope into them.
What we will find when we do this is that there is never going to be a one size fits all church, but there can be a church for everyone, if we are willing to find our UNIQUENESS and work together as ONE.
I am very excited about what the future holds for the Church, Youth Ministry, Children’s Ministry, Adult Ministry, all ministries. Because in fact these division have hurt our churches too. What if we were just the Church?
I call all of us to rethink, to dream, and to vision the future. What does it look like if we embrace our UNIQUENESS and join together in ONENESS and go out, partner with God, and bring the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven?