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Youth Ministry 3.0: A Manifesto of Where We've Been, Where We Are & Where We Need to Go Hardcover – November 25, 2008
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“Mark Oestreicher's Youth Ministry 3.0 embodies the conversation model of ministry books. His book is revolutionary not only in content, but also in style….Marko's book is of the first printed books in the youth ministry field to widely embrace social media as a means of resourcing. Social media addicts everywhere are rejoicing.” (thESource)
From the Back Cover
Over the past several decades there have been three significant shifts in youth culture; each new shift brought with it different values and priorities in the lives of teens. Youth ministries adapted and responded to the first two shifts, but we're missing the boat on the third. The result? Youth ministry isn't addressing the realities and needs of today's youth culture. After nearly three decades in youth ministry, Mark Oestreicher has lived through a lot of those shifts himself. In recent years, he's found himself wondering what needs to change, especially since so much of what we're doing in youth ministry today is not working. In Youth Ministry 3.0, youth workers will explore, along with Marko and the voices of other youth workers, why we need change in youth ministry, from a ministry moving away from a dependence on programs, to one that is focused on communion and mission. They'll get a quick history of youth ministry over the last fifty years. And they'll help dream about what changes need to take place in order to create the next phase of youth ministry --- the future that needs to be created for effective ministry to students.
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Top customer reviews
The content is great, but the Kindle version is very hard to read. The book contains excerpts from other youth leaders and in the physical copy the comments are off to the side in a gray box. But the Kindle version the material is posted in the middle of the writing with no box to separate Mark's words and others comments. The other comments instead are slightly indented.
If you want the Kindle version, the other comments are not bad but can easily be distracting.
The way he frames his argument is a little artificial, but it slightly grew on me the further I got into it. For his starting point, Marko uses a foundational study of adolescence from 1904, which articulates three basic tasks of adolescence: identity formation, establishing autonomy, and seeking affinity. In an evolutionary way that is a little too organized, but still compelling, Marko goes on to suggest that there are three stages of the development of youth ministry that each correspond to one of these tasks.
I believe in being honest and in all honesty, the book proved educational from a historical perspective; however, nebulous in a non-original way. Marko instructs that we are stuck in Youth Ministry 2.0 and prompts change in this area starting with our own mindset. This is not by any means a ‘How to run a youth group 101’ type of work and Marko does seem to acknowledge that the one size fits all concept of youth groups proves to be inaccurate. My perspective on this book was kept wide open, but I believe there was indeed a lack of Biblical citations and perhaps too much of an emphasis of the reliance on the youth group instead of reliance on Christ. I do understand there is a low supply of Biblical reference concerning youth ministry; however, if Marko is prompting us to change our thinking then this should focus on the youth directors heart instead of bribing teens with game nights and pizza while attempting to insert the gospel in there along the way. If we are truly passionate about making an impact on the upcoming generation then our focus should be to model a Christ like form of leadership that teens can follow in a healthy atmosphere. This can only be found through scriptural instruction.
Youth Ministry 1.0, a post-World War II phenomena, responded to identity formation within youth culture. It sought foundation in missionary terms and focused on preaching to youth in a way that would be heard by that specific generation. Youth Ministry 2.0, which developed in the 1970s and lasted until the end of the century, responded to the task of autonomy in youth culture. It was especially focused on programs as the means of connecting with youth. As I mentioned earlier, Marko’s basic premise is that much of youth ministry today is still stuck in Youth Ministry 2.0, rather than moving on to Youth Ministry 3.0 which will better respond to the postmodern shifts within youth culture focusing on the quest for affinity among youth. My agreement with this mindset seems irrelevant, but as I mentioned earlier I enjoy providing an honest opinion. The term used by Marko “moving on from 2.0” seems unimportant. I say this because of my experiences of moving on from youth group to youth group. My issue was never with the group; it was with the youth director. If Marko is speaking of change, I believe the change should focus on the tactics in a churches decision on a youth pastor and not simply give the job to the first college graduate who walks in the door waving a bachelors in youth ministry.
Marko’s interpretation of youth ministries, being stalled in the program driven ways of Youth Ministry 2.0, point towards youth ministries needing to be more contextual, recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all way of doing youth ministry. Even within a single youth ministry, we need to be intentional about meeting the needs of the various sub-cultures represented within one youth group which also includes those who are unsaved. A basic example is a youth director assuming all teens in his group are on the same level spiritually and mentally. Though Marko did not spend a great deal of time on this issue I believe it to be a critical point in winning teen souls to Christ. Most of the time a visitor’s first experience in a teen group does not differentiate from the first day of school and that should be enough to kindle a passion for change in any director’s youth group. Youth ministries should also be missional; that is, they should help students recognize and participate in the many ways God is transforming the world we live in. I saw this in one youth group when I was 18; every Sunday the youth director would take his small group to a skate park for practice in evangelism 101. Granted this group only had 4 girls and 6 boys, but it taught the youth group how to evangelize. Obviously, the youth director prepared his group beforehand and did not force any of the teens into this activity. He instructed to wear what was comfortable, make conversation, and even bring a board if we had one. This was not the only missional activity I saw in my experience of youth groups: prison missions, soup kitchens, and even leaf raking taught the youth group work ethic along with bravery in presenting the gospel.
Marko advocates doing less, being smaller, and simpler. He writes, "Let me say it plainly: Large is part of the value system of Youth Ministry 2.0; small is a cornerstone to Youth Ministry 3.0. Communion necessitates small. Contextualization begs for small. Discernment requires small. Mission is lived out in small...not forced community, programming, and utility." (pg. 99). In my early teen years, before I was saved, I was taken to a youth rally that took place on a large plot of farm land that had close to 1,000 teenagers attend. It seemed more like a social endeavor than an attempt to reach individual teens. I am not against the idea of bringing multiple youth groups together for a youth centered old fashioned camp ground experience; however, for someone who was outside the youth group picture and was told the ultimate mission is to bring more to Christ I did not see that in a setting filled with hot dog stands, tractor pulling, and teens being embarrassed through challenges in front of a thousand other teens. I believe the fellowship of young believers getting to know other young believers outside their small group can be a healthy experience, but there should also be an awareness of teens who are not Christian coming into these events and larger youth groups because otherwise teens who are unaware of the message and will be lost in the chaos of events overwhelming the message of the gospel.
I received a small history lesson and a fresh perspective on the youth ministry. My experiences in a youth group have been poor and in many cases, have ended in fist fights and hurtful words, but with every youth group I walked through I was reminded of what not to do. When I was called to youth ministry I immediately thought “youth ministries degree;” however, God prompted me in the direction of theology because you can never truly be taught how to run a youth group. This statement has been advocated even further through the finishing of this book. Marko gave fantastic insight yet, vague Biblical confirmation. I am by no means bashing the student ministry majors; but I do believe God calls everyone according their purpose. The highest amount of inspiration I have received from this book amounts to a single word, “stuck.” The youth ministry is stuck in trench of scavenger hunts, lock ins, bouncy houses, and pizza - so much pizza. My point is that youth directors seem to lack the spiritual push that they once had. I do not believe it has anything to do with the program because programs can be incredibly beneficial I believe it has everything to do with the heart. My mom talks about the passion her youth director had for the gospel and sacrifices he would make to simply make sure the teens were spiritually fed and from my perspective a great deal of those youth directors have passed on. They have been replaced by guys out of college simply looking for a full-time job. Of course, this does not define all college students looking for ministry in the church, but I believe a large part of my generation looks to the church for a paycheck in youth ministry instead of providing sacrifice as Christ did for the church. Has my generation failed? Absolutely not, but I do think there is more acceptance for the trench Youth Ministry 2.0 has created. Biblical speaking, we are told to never be satisfied with our relationship with Christ and that is what I wish to bring into youth ministry.
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Pages: 155.Read more