Questions.

I’ve had some questions bouncing around my mind for a few weeks now. They’re nagging at me and it seems like every answer ends in another question. Perhaps these questions are the cause of my perpetual headache, or maybe it’s just the excess caffeine I’ve consumed recently. Questions aren’t necessarily bad. These are ones I’d like some outside input on. Here you go. This is your chance for me to listen instead of speak…

  1. How do men view women who are in youth ministry? It seems like children’s ministry is “normal” for females, but youth ministry is male dominated.
  2. What’s the best way to be modest without wearing a nun’s habit or an NFL jersey at all times?
  3. Is it dangerous that when you’re in vocational ministry that your identity is tied to firmly to your job?

Ready, set, answer!

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5 thoughts on “Questions.

  1. Finally got back to replying after my internet failed me last time.

    1. I view women in youth ministry as equals, and I wish more women did youth ministry. That said, I recognise that Youth Ministry is stereotypically done by the youngish guys, whereas Children’s Ministry is stereotypically done by the mums-whos-kids-have-grown-up, or the first-year-out-of-uni girls who haven’t yet settled on a career choice, or the women who really want to do ministry, but churches only employ women as children’s ministers (too many words to be bothered putting hyphens everywhere on that last one).

    I recognise also that in some sense, Children’s Ministry doesn’t seem as valid, whereas Youth Ministry seems one step closer to what people would consider ‘real’ ministry. Which is a real shame. Perceptions like that suck.

    But I think that women in Youth Ministry are great. I had coffee with Mel, the Youth Minister at Port Macquarie last week; she’s a legend!

    2. Modesty. So often this debate turns to legalism. Sadly, so much of our culture is a bunch of attempts to look famous and be noticed, and a massive chunk of those attempts are entirely wrapped up in outward appearances.

    I think real modesty is a two-way street: guys learning (and being taught) that women exist not as decoration to be looked at, but as sisters in Christ to be loved. And girls learning (and being taught) that real beauty has nothing to do with looks, but with Christ-like, ‘beautiful deeds’. It’s interesting that when Paul writes to Timothy with instructions about modesty, he says that women should not adorn themselves with gold, braided hair, etc *but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God* โ€ฆ the modesty debate often talks about the first part (don’t wear such and such), and rarely about the second part. Beautiful deeds is real beauty. The cross is the supreme beautiful deed.

    In terms of how that plays out for how a girl dresses? I’ve got only vague ideas here, but I think the gist is, it’s not about the clothes. And by that, I mean, focus on doing beautiful, Christ-like deeds. Don’t worry about the clothes – with the caveat that there are some things that draw attention to body parts that guys struggle with (and I’m sure girls too, with envy, self-loathing etc), and so it’s probably most helpful for others to avoid that, out of a Christ-like love for others.

    Modesty also seems to be becoming more relevant for guys too – guys need to think about dressing modestly.

    3. I guess it can be. But then, if we love what we do, of course we get entirely wrapped up in it. I think going to work in youth ministry with the attitude of a check-out person at coles (I’m just doing this for the money, I don’t really care about the company) is a terrible approach. Not that I’ve ever met anyone like that in ministry.

    When I go on holidays, I always find myself thinking about my ministry, evaluating how I think it’s going, thinking about what I’m not doing heaps well, thinking about what to change. Thinking about what I want to be doing in 5 years time. And I think that’s a good thing.

    One thing I’m struggling with is being 10 years down the track and realising that most of my closest friends are kids who were in my youth group a few years ago, and have now graduated to serving alongside me in leadership. It can be hard to maintain good friendships with people not in youth ministry. Partly because of time constraints (they want to do dinners etc on Friday nights, I’m tied up a lot of other times, I go to night church and run a bible study during morning church, whereas they just go to morning church), and partly because our work is just so foreign to a lot of people.

    That was all a bit long-winded. What are your thoughts?

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    1. Mel IS a legend. I always feel a little on the outside of youth ministry communities – but there is a great chance that it’s mostly my own feelings of worry that make me feel it, as opposed to anything that the guys do.
      We were talking a bit about children’s ministry at college (as you do…) and the more we talked, the more I realised how key children’s ministry is if you want to have kids who are already following Jesus in your youth ministries. There’s a case to be made for having all youth ministers involved in some kid’s ministry because both have key roles in a person’s development and the connection would be valuable beyond belief.

      “It’s not about the clothes.” is a sentiment that I like. A lot. You’ve summed up the way I wish we’d teach modesty in that one sentence. If the heart was right, maybe the actions would be different. Instead of beginning with “rules” about clothes, girls would begin with a thought about caring for their brothers.

      Identity is something I’m wrestling with a lot lately. I’ve been told it comes with the territory of being 22. In wrestling through it, I’ve realised how easy it would be to tie my identity to ministry as opposed to Christ.

      My thoughts aren’t so clear on any of it – wish they were, though!

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  2. In the past, to me Youth Ministry has felt like it’s potentially more fractured and clicky than other ministry circles. I like the Facebook group thing; kudos to Dave for starting it. It’ll go a long way towards promoting unity for the Kingdom.

    The fractured and clicky feeling isn’t true for everyone doing youth ministry, but it’s easier to feel at home amongst the people you’ve trained with / year group you belong to / college you trained at. Add in the dimension of being a specialist ministry, and that feeling gets stronger.

    Plus it seems a bit easier to be suspicious of people who trained at other colleges. Youth ministry went through a thing about 10 years ago where (this is exaggerating the feelings) the battle lines were drawn along which model of youth ministry one chose to use. So of course, if someone trained at a different college, it was easy to assume they used an outdated/’un-Christian’ model of ministry, so it was easy to feel suspicious of them.

    This all leads to everyone in Youth Ministry probably feeling some degree of isolation and suspicion. I’m over it.

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    1. And yep; Children’s ministry is รผber important. Good kids ministry, especially a strong (i.e. age-appropriate, Jesus focussed, gospel calling) year 5-6 kids group makes for a strong youth group, makes for a strong young adults community, makes for strong youth and children’s leadership team (including adults along the way, of course!)

      Another reason for valuing our children’s ministers, working alongside them, and sticking around together for the long haul.

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      1. I’m loving that group. Pretty sure epic things will occur as a result. Maybe I’ll make a children’s ministry one sometime soon! Hmmm.

        Satan would want us to be divided and isolated – both kids and youth ministers, and youth ministers from different churches. Unity is more important than we often realise.

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