Thursday, May 10, 2007

Deep Ministry In A Shallow World

Despite my belief that the Purpose Driven model of minister is a strong and healthy model, I have spent four years at this ministry and have seen limited amounts of fruit. The cause of this is numerous, largely due to my leadership inabilities and partly due to the congregation’s (thus the student’s) ability to relate all five purposes to their individual lives. (I still get the impression that most believe that discipleship is the same as being baptized, that evangelism is the responsibility of the paid guys, and fellowship is a nice but unnecessary part of growth). I guess a Purpose Driven Youth Ministry can only work when “big” church is truly driven by purpose.

After reading Deep Ministry In A Shallow World, I have come to the conclusion that my application of Purpose Driven has casused me be more agenda driven instead of relational focused. When I would challenge the y.m. to a deeper understanding of discipleship or worship, I was basically telling everyone that they weren’t good enough and we should do better. To say it another way, “The purposes are more important than you.” That’s a bad message to send.

Instead of being agenda drive, Deep Ministry In A Shallow World asks the question “What is God up to?” We answer this question knowing that God is in the business of transforming people. God wants his children to change from their sinful nature to his nature. Youth ministry should be an environment of spiritual transformation for students. To say another way, God wants students to go deeper.

With this basic understanding of God, we can take four basic steps to take students deeper. (See Chapter 2)

Step 1 – Now? Goal: To discern (understand) God’s current transformation by asking:
o What type of transformation is God bringing about now?
o What is creating space for God’s transformation now?
o What is hindering God’s transformation now?

Step 2 – New? Goal: To reflect upon new insights and ideas by asking:
o What does Scripture say?
o What does history say?
o What does research say?
o What does experience say?

Step 3 – Who? Goal: To observe others who are already going deeper by asking:
o What are some ways others are applying these new insights to their ministries?
o In what ways are their situations similar to our?
o In what ways are they different?

Step 4 – How? Goal: To apply information from Steps 1-3 by asking:
o Given everything how can we go deeper?

Going through these four steps seems to be a much better way to go deeper instead of asking how to improve the purposes.

Overall, the book is a good read. It has a lot of research on adolescent culture and practical ways to apply to this to the leader’s ministry context. I would love for my volunteers to read this book.

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