Skip to main content

Oh man, if I ever get to meet those leaders that switched to this programming I need to give them the coveted youth pastor awkward side hug, because they rock. Thanks for sharing Kevin!!!


No comments I see. This is sad. I am not well educated in the representation of minorities in our denomination. But having children of African American heritage I have come to view our denominations struggle with race reconciliation with interest. I doubt very much that we would be attending a CRC church in BC if it were not for my job here (New Life CRC). I'm not a fan of affirmative action plans that amount to haphazard attempts to be diverse.  I do believe we need firm action that affirms qualified minority pastors and leaders to walk into the fullness of their calling. I do believe there is something in the trends posted here that needs further consideration. 

I can't even belive this... Come on GR... come on Burlington... Get your head in the game.

Youth Pastors are crying out for accoutability and connectivity to our demomination.

I'm sorry YU is in this place where this is the decision they had to make.

It's time to make the CRC - YU connection a working partnership rather than simply a "Communication Agreement".

Or as Kieth suggests for CRC Canada to step out on its own and offer a Canadian CRC Support System...


I'm not sure you can have one with out the other. I think we are drenched in a poor theology of play. ie: Play second to partaking in the word. I tend not to think about one over another. Scripture calls us to be faithful in all things... In prayer, partaking in the word, partnering in his work and in play..p. Many yp's spend considerable time trying to do theological connect the dots to tie the game and the study together. Why? Play is Gods gift to us... It engages community (if it engages all) it engages justice (if the boundaries are graciously adhered to) it engages non-professional unstructured re-creation (something our students desperately lack) it engages identity (who am I at  unstructured play with no college scouts watching?) One of the reason it will never be far from our program is because it offers us as adults an incredible medium to build attachments with youth. To play with and even just to observe youth at play is a significant opportunity for us as leaders to sit on the steps of their subculture. With open eyes and open ears as we engage play we get a powerful glimpse into how they are answering the question who am I? Where do belong? And what is my purpose? We do have a duty to schedule these things well. Some nights we play and we play hard... Other nights we partake in scripture and we partake hard.  

I would agree that there is some general truths mentioned in the article...  I my self (Youth Pastor) have loved and hated the "make sure it's fun but also theologically deep at the same time" job description we are at times expected to fulfill. 

I do take issue that quoting teen self report surveys about what students belive is the best way to take the acurate pulse of teens ability to wax eloquently about thier theological beliefs. I'd doubt very much that parents of those teens would do much better in thier surveys.  And that is I believe the bigger issue.  I'm not suggesting here that theological training is soley the parents responsibility as some "D6" fans suggest.  I just think together as a family of faith (CRC) we have all dropped the ball.  Many churches decided to drop catechism because it was what??? Boring!  Looking back I think we put to much emphasis on 3rd party organizations like Youth Unilimted, Youth Specialties, Zondervan and Faith Alive (as wonderful as they are) to insert the pep into theology and mix in a little of the "fun" that was missing...  Eventually we resorted to the same thing the broader evangelical churches were resorting to, fun youth leaders who loved Jesus. What I am begining to wonder is (as Tim Keep seems to be) did the CRC ever really undestand the role of fun and games in teaching theology?  I doubt it...  

I ski with my youth every year.  So do many other youth groups.  Here is the differnce... We DON'T bring a speaker and hire a band when we go. We just go... We ski our hearts out and laugh our heads off.  We do devotions each morning and each morning I invite the youth to simply "play in God's backyard." He's there laughing with us when we laugh and when we marvel at the intricacy of the slide he built for us to slide down.  We play. And when we play together something mysterious happens (I bet God knew this would happen) people want to talk about God. Not the Moralistic Theaputic Deity described by Christian Smith (excellent book btw) but the God of the Bible. Sometimes it's a God conversation on the lift, in the hot tub, in the van on the way home. And then there are the follow up conversations I get to have the next week, next month when a student calls me up and wants to go out for lunch and is "suddenly interested" in doing proffession of faith, taking a class or wanting to reach out to a friend who needs Jesus... In those moments I am aware of the connection to the time we spent together having fun God's backyard.          

I inherited a youth ministry paradigm that suggested for "play time" or "fun" to be time well spent it had to a) draw a crowd and b) somehow be twisted and reworked into a deep "spirtual point".  I have worked hard over the past three years to develop a ministry paradigm in which a) I am invited to shepherd God's kids no matter the size of the group, where my self worth is not tied merely to numbers. b) It is understood that God invented fun. We experience his joy without the need to maufacture a theological proof text out of the already God ordained moments we are given to enjoy with our youth. c) We (parents, primary influencers of the faith and even the fun youth workers) preach/teach/model the Biblical Christ centered gospel... The whole package... The easy to swallow and the hard to swallow... With it's foolishness and with it's ability to provide deep assurance to the youth of our congregation.

It's too easy to play theology against fun and vice versa. I think there is a way to think theologically about them both without watering either of them down in potency...

Sadly the result of churches nixing theology in favour of all fun options is dually noted.

Koen B

I find the pendulum has swung back in favour of Biblical (exegetical, contextual) teaching.  We are scrapping the study tools of 3rd party org's in favout of Lectio Divina. My students are more interested in what the Bible has to say than what I (thier youth pastor) thinks about current youth and pop culture trends.  We are preaching like never before and they are eating it up... however I agree that this generation needs relational oppertunites to engage in dialouge along with preaching. This is vital and too often overlooked...

Great points!!! There is a whole pile of brightness and hope out there. Those bright spots are those congregations that are recognizing that the intergenerational approach to discipleship is the place to start.  Sadly I'm not sure the denomination is leading the charge... Again it is the CRC lagging as the larger evangelical community wakes up from a silo ministry focused slumber... 

It is sad because the CRC which is at it's very core built on an internegerational foundation has for so long neglected to produce any effective ministry or disciplship track to meet the needs of this changing adolecent demographic.  This is not a Faith Alive nor Youth Unlimited responsiblity. It's a CRC responsibility that has gone over looked for so long that most "youth proffesionals" have now been trained/emersed in non CRC ministry environments/models.  Sadly we now reap the consequences of not meeting the needs of those youth professionals as a denomination. The worst of which is a distrust that the CRC is even interested in the "youth ministry" arena aside from establishing commitees and highlighting the work of Youth Unlimited in the Banner (which is not even a "CRC ministry").

The move away from the silo or peer based ministry is a counter cultural one that I hope and pray the CRC can lead as it looks at the strengths it can draw from it's roots.  iGEN ministry is in our veins it's what is unique and beautiful about the CRC.  So let's gather up all those wonderful documemts, make some descisions as a denomination and lead!        

I would not assume that the move to a more intergenerational apporach to ministry means less organ or less repetative praise choruses or less of anything for that matter. This sadly underscores the fault we have at over emphasizing losses in this discussion.  I am not afraid of the pedulum swinging any further to the left extreme I think that's part of our problem.  There is a whole area in between that we seem to have passed by.  Jesus Culture and Robert Robinson can and must coexist in the same service... Why is it that we play the older and younger generation against eachother when as declared by your own insights of European concert halls we can co-exist.  After all don't we always just follow what Europe does??? (Please Lord I hope we don't) 

Intergenerational does not mean we cater to this generations worship style nor does it mean we cater to any other generational style of worship...  It means interdependant faith, worship and ministry as opposed to independant...  It also means the previous generation needs to let go of some control of church and let the this generation own, lead and make mistakes while we together refect on gains and losses as we move ahead...

We want to hear from you.

Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.

Add Your Post