Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World

YM in a Post Christian WorldI (finally) finished reading Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World. It was one of those books that stirred my thinking, but I kept experiencing interruptions in my reading.

I referred to this book in previous posts that have talked about the issues the church faces when it comes to our post-christian culture. In this video, you can hear the author, Brock Morgan, talk briefly about the basis for the book.

In the opening chapters, Brock Morgan shares both his experiences and statistics that point to the fact we are living in a post-Christian world. He referenced a Barna study in the first chapter that speaks to the change that has been occurring in our culture: “The younger the generation, the increasingly post-Christian it is compared with its predecessors. Nealy half of Mosaics (48%) qualify as post-Christian compared with two-fifths of Busters (40%). One-third Boomers (35%) and one-quarter (28%) are post-Christian. These patterns are consistent with other studies that show the increasing percentage of “Nones” [i.e., adults who claim no religious affiliation among younger generations.”

Basically our culture is moving away from the church being the authoritative voice in our culture. With each generation, a larger percentage claim to have no religious affiliation. One speaker I heard describes it this way: the church used to be the majority and speak with authority. Now, we are in the minority and don’t have the same authority.

Morgan offers a unique perspective in his book as he shares about his experiences ministering in New England. When he first arrived at the church he serves, he was described as very “Jesus-y,” which he later learned wasn’t a compliment. Some of his stories would shock those of us who live and serve in the Bible Belt.

While pointing out that we live in a post-Christian culture, Morgan also talks about how to effectively minister to students in this context. He offers some defining characteristics of students who are post-Christian and shares some practical things he has done to connect with students and help them connect with God.

While ministering in New England is a lot different that being in the mid-West, there were several observations Morgan made with which I could relate. This book offers some good ideas on how to serve in our ever-changing culture.

I love what Morgan wrote about our approach in chapter 6: “Our goal should not be helping 15-year-olds become godly. Our goal should be that one day when these 15-year-olds are 30-year-olds, their faith will influence who they marry, what careers they choose, what habits they form, and how they raise their children.”

Whatever generation we serve, our goal should be to help foster a relationship with Jesus that impacts all facets of our lives. Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World offers some insights to those who are serving students today.

Three Major Faith and Culture Trends for 2014 – Barna Group

pollsThis month I started reading a book titled Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World. I’m still reading through it and processing some of the data and conclusions the author shares (I’m sure something will appear in this space on a later date regarding the book).

So, as I’m thinking through this idea of living in a post-Christian world, I see this research from Barna. I thought it was interesting, especially for leaders in the church. One paragraph especially caught my attention:

The rising resistance to faith institutions is evidenced in the newer language used to discuss spirituality today. When it comes to matters of the soul, disclaimers are emerging as the new faith identifiers. Today, there are those who self-describe as “spiritual, but not religious”—individuals who like to associate with what they perceive as the positive elements of spirituality but not the negative associations of organized religion. Or consider the rise of the “Nones”—the much-discussed adults who are religiously unaffiliated and who don’t want to use any conventional label for their religious faith. And in many places, the prefix “post-” is being attached to matters of faith. Post-Christian. Post-denominational. Post-evangelical. Post-religious.

You can read the Barna article below, but it added to the churning in my brain about what it means to lead youth ministry (or any kind of ministry) in our post-Christian culture.

Thoughts?

Three Major Faith and Culture Trends for 2014 – Barna Group.