Over the years, I've had some parents who expect this from our youth ministry. The mindset is "Market to my kid, entertain him, and if he or she likes it, you're good at what you do." If not, then you're as expendable as chess club, or those violin lessons that lasted two months. Many of these folks expect me to Create 17 services a week (after all, we're just babysitters right), even though I'll be lucky to see there kid at one of them..maybe (I mean, because there is travel soccer, and American Idol is on Tuesday AND Wednesday!). I could go on, but then I'd be accused of being smug or crotchety.
I was reminded this week that, at the end of the day, I am terrifically uncool...that ultimately, the gospel, coupled with my convictions, which are inherently lame in the eyes of the culture, make me a poor entertainer compared to an "anything goes, I'm okay, you're okay" mindset that exists in many of those I'm trying reach. On a shallow level, how could I ever out-entertain that?
I'm trying to make sense of a lot in my head right now - mainly, how do we provide relevant, engaging experiences with Jesus without just creating one more entertainment option or babysitting service? This raises some questions about what we do:
- Are there programs that we do just because we're afraid of the criticism we'd get for not doing them - or are they creating the experience we're seeking for students?
- Can we truly be a viable, engaging experience without the ownership of quality student leaders?