Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Youth Church (2)
Following up the last post on the youth church thing.
Jonathan suggested that the shift in emphasis from "youth church" to "emerging church" was about a:
discovery that the need for new ways of doing and being church was felt not just by young people but also by older generations. So the distinguishing factor ceased to be age, and became outlook, approach, style"
That kind of summarises how my personal thought process, from working with youth to asking bigger "church" questions. I hope that is the reality in terms of youth church, but the cynic in me wonders if it is still about trends and bandwaggons?

In terms of how I answered some of the questions I was asked, here are my quick thoughts:
  • How would you define a youth church? What distinguishes it from a “normal” multi-generational church?

For me the definition of a youth church is an attempt to inculturate the Gospel and function as a church within the structures and paradigms of a particular localised youth culture.

I think it was Graham Cray who suggested something like that we think in terms of these being the first churches of a new generation rather than a single generation church.

They differ from multi-generational churches by being focused on the culture and patterns of young people and youth culture, although there may be older people who relate more to such an expression than they do existing “inherited” churches.
  • From your experience and observation, are most youth churches in England youth groups of existing churches who want their own worship service or are they church plants into the youth culture?

At the moment most are congregations of existing churches. This is far more common than church planting.

There have been some attempts to plant, but usually out of strong relationship with the “mother” church

More for another post I think!

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Anonymous said...

I actually hate the idea of a ‘youth church’, yet in some ways that’s in some ways exactly what I am seeking to establish.

I am involved with a project call Church on the Edge that is linked to CYM, CMS and FYT. From my experience, with traditional youth churches they seem to have just tried to put on cool music ect with the hope of attracting young people, yet there actually seemed little missional focus. yet as has been pointed out, there is now the emerging church. The EM has a much more missional focus yet it seems to lack any significant focus on under 25’s. With the project I am working on we are seeking to grow church out of mission as apposed to establishing a church for mission. This has meanly of the characteristics of the theology and praxis of emerging/emergent but with a totally mission focus with (not to) under 25 ‘s (mainly 13-18) who are outside the church.

10:44 pm  

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