This weekend I drove up to Baltimore for a Young Life staff training day. As a former YL staffer in Portugal, this was a rare treat, 'cause I was invited to teach on contextualizing ministry to a particular youth culture. Humbled and excited, I was also totally knackered/shattered. I arrived completely bleary-eyed on caffeine, having only slept 3 hours the night before (see also: finals week). But sweet Wanda kept handing me lattes, and it was a small enough group that we could really have some dialogue, which also kept me awake. I was encouraged by how eager these folks are willing and ready to take some new risks in ministry. (Particularly because Young Life in America tends to be a well-oiled methodological machine.) Here's what I taught on:
(Re)Imagining Ministry to Lost Kids
1. Becoming artisan leaders means rockin a cycle of Listening, Letting Go, and Learning.
2. We gotta listen for God's Voice like Moses did (Exodus 33:9-18) and insist on His Presence leading us.
3. Listening like Moses did often means waiting and looking like a moron (Exod. 24:16-18).
4. We gotta listen to the voices of kids and empower them to lead, instead of us.*
5. If we don't listen to the voices of kids they'll become our ministry "objects" rather than "subjects." (And that's gross.)
6. We gotta let go of our "golden calves" in ministry. (AKA. Anything we turn to because "it just works," rather than first listening for and waiting on God.) Exod. 32:1-6.
7. We've even gotta let go of our "vain repetetions" in ministry. (Matthew 6:5-13). Though Jesus was talkin' about prayer, perhaps the same Pharisee-thing applies when we get all hyper-methodologized in ministry.
8. We've gotta learn as cross-cultural missionaries of our students' school, listening to "the pulse" of the culture. We've gotta know, "What is good news to these kids?" before we can communicate THE Good News.
9. We've gotta let go of the notion that we're the only ones who want these kiddos to be whole. We've gotta creatively partner with the folks in the community who have a vested interest in these same kids, even if those folks don't follow Jesus.
10. We've gotta learn all over again to dream and take risks with the Holy Spirit.
*I showed this gorgeous Sigur Ros video to illustrate, metaphorically, what it looks like for kids to lead other kids to freedom.