I finally got a chance to finish reading the Jan/Feb issue of YOUTHWORKER Journal. For some reason I have a hard time reading through this magazine. I think the reason is that I don't feel like I'm the target youth pastor for it. The truth is I'm not and that is ok. I'm a middle school/jr hi guy and my focus is on that age group. This magazine really focuses its material on sr hi and college youth groups. Still I did get some great thoughts and I'm suggesting a few articles to our sr hi guy (Pastor Mark Forstrom):
What I liked: Walt Mueller has a powerful article called, "Our Kids are Stressed, and It's getting Worse." There is a lot of gems to think through in this article and some great research ideas on how to help our kids through stress (the key idea of the whole magazine). One big thought that hit me was when he was talking about parents. "It's a sad irony that those who should be our kids' first line of defense against stress are too often the first and deepest source of stress in young lives." Important stuff for us as youth ministers to help our kids deal with stress and part of that is to walk with our kid’s parents through stress.
???: Dr. Steven Todd's interview with Julia Duin called "Post-Church Christians" had some very interesting and important thoughts for youth ministry. But I can't help but wonder how some of what was talked about could be implemented in our current youth ministry setting. She said at one point when she was answering what youth pastor's primary focus should be, "Give these kids a realistic idea of what's ahead for the next 40 to 60 years." I can't hardly see what is happening in the next year and it seems to me that ever article, book, etc that writes about things to come (besides the Bible) is of little use. I just don't see how this is relevant to youth ministry, at least in my setting.
Key statement: Mark Oestreicher had a great little article on middle school ministry that had a great statement. "Really we're front-lobby tour guides: We welcome; we orient, we affirm and acknowledge; and we get them all the way to their seats in the grand showroom of the find-who-you-are convention of youth." This reminded me a lot of what Gary Eilts said about middle school ministry - read what he said here.
Something creative: Mark Cannister's review of the book "Sacredspace" by Dan Kimball & Lilly Lewin had me order the book. My worship team and I are going to read through it to see if there are some creative ways we can do worship. Even if we don't use any ideas from the book it should cause us to have some great dialog.