Today I was at the local public middle school, doing bible study with about ten students. As I walked out, I saw one of the teachers, an alumni from my high school band, wearing a jacket from our cross town rival. "Why is she wearing green and orange?" I thought. And then I remembered, tonight is our regularly scheduled all together BIG youth ministry night at the church I serve. Earlier, I had decided to combine our group with the rest of the church for some "special meetings" we've been having all week. This is kind of an old school thing, and I had been second guessing my choice wondering if our students would be better off enjoying the regular more youth friendly "programming" we normally offer. My thought was... sending youth to listen to an old white haired guy in a suit is kinda like wearing a Poly High jacket when you graduated from Ramona.
Then I came back to the office to read my favorite wednesday afternoon updates. Marko, from YS, has posted a wonderful apology for ys' unintentional role in the overprogramming of youth ministry. While I totally respect Marko, and the entire organization, the whole idea that someone else brought this up angered me a bit. Do I have to throw away all my pre 1990 ys resources? (So you know, I am working on a not yet finished future post on what to do with your Ted Haggard books). Surely there is still plenty to glean from these dated resources. Asking one organization to take responsibility for the so called mistakes of youth ministry is alot like blaming the crucifixion of Jesus squarely on the shoulders of the Jews. Even for Marko to acknowledge ys' part in where youth ministry is today, and then apologize, seemed in a way, to take away from the good that was done. Perhaps God was working in that season, just like he is now. I throughly enjoyed the entry, and don't want my little soap boxing here to come across as a knock on Marko or YS . But maybe it would be good for each of us to own up to our own part of what has happened, instead of blaming others.
The whole thing reminded me how unsignificant programimg is. God used this to bring peace to my heart as I throw out our regualarly scheduled "programming" and ask students to experience worship in our "special meetings" tonight.
God forgive me for being a part of the mess both youth ministry and the church find themselves in. May I be an effective part of the solution. Thank you for the voices you have allowed to speak to me during the journey. May you use tonight as an unique oppurtunity to speak into the lives of our students. Amen.
May you find yourself joining your own prayers to the own I've made above. And may the Rams always rule over the Bears!