Thanks, Ben Mizen, from his Diocese of Portsmouth blog, for sharing the following observation:
I’ve been musing on the desire of many churches to “get young people in” and the, often mis-matched, methods used to attract. I think it is a constant challenge for faith communities to compete with activities that can be perceived as competition for the attention of young people. Sadly, the reality of attraction can lead to an entertainment model of youth work where you are only as good the last whacky big event or fun trip you did. Once you enter into this model (and remember fun is part of youth work but not ALL of it) you can kiss good bye to all your big statements about relational youth ministry and discipleship. Where does faith nurture and Gospel feature???
Here’s a challenging quote from Kyle Lake that featured in a Youthworker.com article. I think it’s really useful…
Throughout my time working in ministry, I have come to understand I never will be able to capture and sustain a student’s attention if I try to entertain him or her. With the amount of time, money, talent and energy that goes into the myriad entertainment options, my hour-and-a-half offering on Sunday is hardly a blip on the radar. The good news is we don’t have to try and entertain students. Instead, we need to help awaken their imaginations and invite them to come along with the church on a journey full of adventure and discovery. Entertainment may occupy our students’ minds, but it never will occupy their hearts like the gospel. The gospel uniquely offers what entertainment cannot: a life full of passion, adventure and discovery. These three things invite life-long transformation and a journey compared with singular events offered through entertainment. The call of Jesus is to give up everything, follow Him, and create a whole new world. Adventure and discovery are elements of this call because they require commitment, courage and action; entertainment does not. The call of entertainment is to consume a product.
Read the rest of the article here (where Kyle uses the word student he means young person for our context).