Saturday, October 07, 2006

Austin Day 3...

Paradigm shifts are never easy. And it appears, at least for my ministry that I am about to be in the midst of one. I think not realizing a need to change has potentially been the source of some of my recent struggles, but only time will tell. Here is what happened today:

I started the morning out in Jim Burns session on partnering parents. Some of this was review as I have already been using some of his homewords material since last year, but some of it is new. The first bit of a paradigm shift that needs to take place is parental involvement. I have been trying to include my parents in my ministry for some time now, but according to Burns I have been giving them too much of an option to opt out. He suggested upping the quality of what we offer them and make it a bit of a requirement, just like a sport or social club would have. The fact is, every parent should be involved in some way. This will be difficult for me I think as some of my parents are the proverbial "thorn" that Paul talks about. I pray that I can find new and better ways to involve my parents and minister to them more effectively.

The second paradigm shift that is going to be difficult is the idea of changing how I do things. Roland Martinson spoke this morning about having a ministry versus a monster. The whole concept here is about not building our ministries around ourselves and the program itself so as when we leave it creates a monster for the person who comes in after us. The real shift that needs to take place is in creating God followers and not jut consumers. It isn't about the entertainment, but about the relationship with Christ.

Donald Miller reaffirmed this tonight in his message about the change that has taken place within the church over the years. What we have created is a church full of consumers who are looking for the best product out there. We (perhaps unintentionally) have turned ourselves into "Corporation Jesus" as he put it, but what we really need to become is more like a family and not a business.

Can I say that this concept is very difficult for me to grasp since I have invested a lot of time and money in becoming culture savvy and knowing how to provide a quality program that compares to what the world has to offer. All through my college experience I was told that we have to radically change the world by being culturally relevant and offering something just as good as what the world has. So am I now to have to unlearn that? It will be difficult, but I have a feeling I need to let my kids know that I have missed the boat. I have spent so much time trying to entertain them instead of showing them a radical Jesus who is calling them to a radical life change that may be uncomfortable.

So this journey may be a difficult one, but I am willing to give it a shot. I'm not going to go out and encourage my kids to become a monastic society who remove themselves from the world, but I think I have some relearning to do as it relates to understanding and embracing culture and still pointing kids to family style Jesus.

What do you think?
-Matt

2 comments:

Kim and Joel said...

WOW! Thought provoking words. Not sure if you remember me. I was IWU and worked with Ken and Robin at the Search. (Kim Carter)
Anyway, like I said your thoughts are awesome. I feel that ministry is changing so much now especially youth ministry. Sometimes I do wonder if what I have learned my whole life needs to change in order to reach people for Jesus. I do know youth cannot be reached like they used to. Sometimes I think kids just want to hear Jesus. They don't need all the entertainment, they can get that in their ipod, TV, etc. Sometimes we(all of us) just need to hear Jesus and its hard to with all the 'noise' of the world.
I commend you for your ministry and pray God's blessing upon it.
Thanks for making me think.

Matt said...

Kim,
Of course I remember you...all those nights of Search, Taco Bell, Survivor, Making the Band, and the practice. Like I told Robin, ya'll were key in my life during a rough time of feeling out of place since I was a graduate, working for the university and didn't really have a place as a single guy with no plans (then) of settling down. All of the searchers were a blessing to me during that time. Thanks for the thoughts and great to hear from you. Aren't you guys in missions somewhere?