I came across an interesting statement I thought I'd share... This is from a book called "Practicing Passion" by Kenda Dean:
"...many visible leaders of today's "alternative" congregations -- where pastors intentionally refashion styles of worship, patterns of polity, and forms of nurture to attract Baby Boomers and their progeny -- admit strong roots in youth ministry. A quick scan through their proliferating publications shows that, by and large, these leaders simply adapted their visions (and methods) of youth ministry to address the adults the youth inevitably became"
Just kind of blew me away, I think it's interesting, because it is so true... that people easily identify with the passions of their Youth. I remembered back when we had this Prime-timer's luncheon along with the youth/young adults... and they were reminiscing back to what it was like in their youth... standing around singing hymns and choruses until the wee hours of the night, praying for each other and seeking God all while praying with the Fire of the Holy Ghost... and that's exactly what gets them excited now. Just last Sunday, when we were singing a run of Hymns, all about Heaven... and those people really got excited... standing up, clapping, and singing with all of their heart. I just find it so interesting how things progress.
As a Kid, when I would go to youth events with my sister, and we'd sing songs like "I don't want to be a casual Christian"... and even today, the focus of that generation is all about not being casual with the things you do. Not specifically church or God, but life. To be committed to whatever it is you are doing... I think it because of the climate of that culture, where commitments just didn't matter.
With the youth of my generation, everything was about being extreme... X-treme sports, X-treme movies, X-treme songs.... pushing the limits and boundaries of everything. And that's exactly what we are still doing... pushing the limits of technology, laws, and even finances... And it is once again, a reaction to the climate of our culture. The generation just before us didn't commit, and my generation over committed to to many things, and does none of them well... okay maybe that's just a little critical... And that's how we view church... it seems to be an all or nothing deal... and if it's not, then we never really connect, we never really commit, because we are too busy over committing to too many other things...
What is really interesting, it the rising generation... Have you noticed the tone of even their music, especially the Christian music... everything lately has been to the tone of... I am lost, and I cannot make it another moment without you God. And forgive me for the terrible sin in my life. I am desperate for you God... desperate for something. I think, that this new generation is reacting to the climate of our culture. A culture where the young people are struggling to find identity, struggling to find hope, and struggling to find something to be passionate about, in a world that is falling apart at it's seems. A world full of Drugs, Sex, Crime, War, Terrorism, and overall Hopelessness.
Kenda said "'Identity'... and 'Identity formation' [is] the developmental 'crisis' that young people must resolve... a socially-sanctioned 'time-out' from adult roles and commitments in which young people could construct an integrated self that both responded to their historical context and cohered across time and social roles. This sense of self, or identity, WAS burrowed in part from social institutions and significant others whose established selfhood helped anchor young people's developing psyche... Yet... identity-bearing social institutions like families, schools, and religious communities grew noticeably weaker, and a new institution, the electronic Media started to make fragmentation look normal...Today, channel surfing, split screens, hyperlinks, and hundreds of other momentary investments seem to challenge [the] notion of an integrated identity...".
So where is this generation finding their notion of "Identity"? From the very culture that has stolen it... Today's youth has become radical and desperate. They are desperate to find their identity, desperate to find something, anything that they can love, and will love back. They are desperate to be part of something that they feel is worth dieing for. I am truly interested to see and understand what our young people require for a "successful" youth ministry... and more so, what the "successful" churches of tomorrow will become.
Here's the book info if you are interested:
Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church
By Kenda Creasy Dean