Narrative Youth Ministry

Thank you, twitter.  Scot McKnight tweeted this link to Chris Folmsbee blogging about “Youth Ministry and Narrative Intelligence.”

Read the whole post- it isn’t very long. The point I want to focus on sharing is the stated (new) purpose of youth ministry:

That purpose (derived from our mission which is derived from God’s narrative) of youth ministry is to participate in God’s restoration of the world toward its intended wholeness.

So the purpose of youth ministry, and, I would add, of any Christian ministry, is “to participate in God’s restoration of the world toward its intended wholeness.”

What a powerful purpose!  What a different focus from traditional youth ministry!  Let’s face it: the purpose of youth ministry has traditionally been

  1. to reach as many kids as possible with the gospel
  2. to connect kids with and enculturate them into the church enough to keep them into adulthood
  3. to segregate youth from the rest of the church to entertain them and leave the rest of us alone.

I would contend that most traditional youth ministry tends to aim toward some combination of these three foci.

What does youth ministry look like if its purpose is to participate in God’s restoration of the world?

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2 thoughts on “Narrative Youth Ministry

  1. I’ve actually been thinking about this for some time. We’re revamping our student ministry’s website and like most ministry web-sites we are including a little bit on our purpose/mission as a ministry.

    We’ve been thinking a lot on role of intergenerational connections within the church and how often they are limited. We have children’s, students, college, young adult, adult, and senior ministries but what, if anything, do we do to connect all of them together?

    A blurb that Mark Oestriecher wrote in one of his blogs that stuck with me is that in his ministry they prepare students for “Finding the Journey to Come”. I like this but also feel (which I’m sure Mark-O agrees) that a large part with youth today is finding meaning in the journey they have already begun. How does God use them or desire to use them to bring about his kingdom?

    It’s something that takes the back seat all to often to numbers(1) and entertainment(3).

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