>Changing the culture

>A friend pointed me to an article in USA Today about youth leaving churches because they were no longer relevant. Interestingly, the article wavered between talking about programming and numbers being down while “experts” forecasted that teens wanted to be a part of something radical, that teens actually wanted substance and Scripture!

My reaction to this article is particularly strong because I just came back from the first of two days of training with LEAD222. I’d been involved with LEAD in the past, but recently recommitted to being an active member of this community. Basically, LEAD is about changing the culture of youth ministry by calling youth pastors to accountability and mentoring. The aim is to call youth pastors into community with each other all the while challenging one another to watch our lives and our doctrine closely. Members of LEAD engage with each other by sharpening one another professionally, encouraging, keeping one another accountable to integrity both inside and out, and calling one another to love our families. It’s a neat organization based on relationships.

As I think about the men and women gathered tonight, I know that none of them would think that pizza parties or entertainment will bring in these kids. I love the fact that when we are together, there is no pretension. It’s not a chest-puffing contest to see who can outdo whom, or who has the biggest group. Rather, it’s about being together because we know that we are like-minded in reaching students, and loving Jesus. They know that students will be reached by authentic, passionate, and skilled youth ministry workers who are mentoring, empowering, and equipping others to do the same. The article reminds me that more than anything, these kinds of circles are crucial if we are going to change the culture of youth ministry and reach a generation.

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