Wow - when is the last time you heard the head of a major ministry say that the church is in a mess and our organization shares a good deal of the responsibility for it? I've seen lots of people say the church is in a mess and then point fingers at all the people they think are responsible for it, and then tell how their organization is uniquely positioned to correct the errors of those others.
But check out this from Mark Oestreicher of Youth Specialties then follow the link to read the rest.
not too long ago, a blog commenter emailed me and wrote that he noticed i regularly hint at or outright rant about the state of youth ministry: particularly, our wrong-minded obsession with field-of-dreams attractional ministry ("if you build it, they will come."). he politely asked if youth specialties senses any culpability in this, and, if so, if that has ever been said. i responded that i think i've regularly said on this blog that ys shares part of the responsibility for this, and i've said it in seminars at the national youth workers convention also.
but i've been stewing on this for a couple months. and I think it deserves to be said more clearly.
while youth specialties certainly isn't solely responsible, i think it's very fair to say we should bear the brunt of the blame. yes, youth specialties is primarily responsible for promoting – for decades – a model of youth ministry, built on a set of assumptions (mostly unstated), that elevated programming as the best path to successful youth ministry. and for this – i will speak for us, organizationally – we are sorry.
Thanks for this Mark and I'm with you in that I don't think youth specialties needs to bear the sole blame for this. But this is a wonderful example of Christ-like humility I hope I and others can follow.