Slow blogging season mostly because Scott was prepping then away at his junior high groups big Fall Retreat, and I’ve been away in Germany for about a week. The trip was slotted because of an opportunity to train 150 German youth workers and I decided to bring Rachel along for a bit of a vacation on the tail end.
I’m in Berlin….in a Starbucks of course…reflecting on some of my learnings/observations over the past several days. As is often the case with international ministry opportunities, I think I benefited much more from my time with the Youth Ministry Nation in Germany than they did by having me. Here are a few totally random thoughts I’m processing:
- Youth ministry here is about 15-20 years behind “the curve” in many aspects. And I’m not totally convinced they need to catch up!
- However youth ministry, and the church as a whole, seems to be holding on by a very thin thread so there is obviously the need for life to be breathed into it.
- In my sessions, I tried to present mostly “universal principles” sprinkled with some examples of “how we do it where I’m from”. I found it interesting that many of our “universal principles” aren’t as universal as I assumed they are. Many of them are completely connected to the methodology in which we express them….or so it felt at times.
- Heart-to-heart conversations about life and ministry are perhaps the most “universal” ways we can encourage and train each other.
- I need to think more critically and do it more often. Friends like Marko and Adam McLane have helped me in this area, but it doesn’t come naturally. I’m a “doer” a pragmatist and a utilitarian youth worker. I rarely take time to think…really think…about some of the deeper issues of youth ministry and theology. The amazing men and women I’ve spent the past four days with thrive on it. I often felt like I was coming up short in conversations because I am mostly a man of ideas and “tools” not profound, futurist, theological youth ministry thoughts. I don’t need to go to that place very often, and I’m happy I have friends who seem to live there, but an occasional visit might be warranted!
- American youth workers are a spoiled bunch. We might not recognize it, or even have an entitled attitude…but we’ve got it very, very, good. I honestly can’t think of one tangible ministry resource, tool or necessity the youth workers I’ve met have that most of us don’t. Yet they are passionately committed to the task at hand.