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    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    Youth Ministry-- What MUST Die (Cont.)

    *If you haven't read "Youth Ministry-- What MUST Die" please do so before continuing*

    I agree with Mark Oestreicher and Mark Driscoll when they talk about belonging. Mark O. wrote a quick article in Group Magazine recently about the new Youth Cultures needs and at the top of the list is belonging. Mark Driscoll in his book The Radical Reformission discusses how the old pattern of evangelism was: " Know Jesus, then belong" but today we need a new way or "Reformission" as Mark calls is that looks like this: "Belong, then know Jesus".

    Killing the old way of evangelism and adopting what I am calling "pre-evangelism" does just that: allows the teen to BELONG first. This is what they need and this is how Jesus did ministry.

    Take a look at the story of Zacheus for example. He belonged to no one. He was a Jew who stole from Jews by working for the Romans. He wasn't a Roman but a dirty Jew. He had no one to claim him. One day, as he's fighting to see Jesus, he climbs a tree. Jesus walks by and gives him immediate belonging. He invites himself over for lunch! While already belonging with Jesus, just being with him in relationship causes Zacheus to change. He (during the meal with Jesus) tells how he's going to give back all he's stolen.

    Take another look at a different story. The woman caught in adultery. The men drag her out of the bedroom where she was committing adultery (why didn't they grab the man too??), throw her before Jesus and demand justice. This woman has no belonging. She is unloved and unwanted by everyone. She is just a whore to the world. Jesus protects, defends and loves her and in an instant gives her belonging. After all her "haters" walk away, then Jesus tells her to leave her life of sin.

    The stories go on and on about how Jesus used this type of evangelism; the woman at the well received belonging just by Jesus breaking a couple "cultural barriers". The list is numerous all making the same point that Christ didn't always have a huge crowd to preach to, he simply brought Himself to people, went to parties and was present and that was enough.

    This change in outreach is by no way easy. It wasn't for me. I constantly questioned is this the right way Lord? Am I blaspheming? I always struggled with giving a quick "Jesus talk" or not during an event. I also got blow back from the Church parents and rightfully so. It was then I deeply studied how Jesus did ministry and was confirmed within my spirit from His that this was the right course for this time. I shared this with the parents in my ministry and some of my biggest critics became my biggest cheerleaders. It took a year and a half to get my Church kids seeing the value in it and then owning it. It put a lot of pressure on the kids that knew Christ. They had to step up and decide to truly live Christ-centered lives...and they did! They stepped up and owned it, as did my leaders. So, don't hear me saying this is a cake walk...but it is needed.

    I am thankful for Mark O. and Mark D. for hearing God's voice on these issues and then writing about them. I've been practicing these principles before I read their books, but God has confirmed again through them that this is a good, new, necessary path for Youth Ministry.

    Thanks Guys!