Emerging youth pastors unite

Below is a recent post from my friend Jeremy Zach.  Youth Pastor gone mad

He lives and serves out in CA and also is the founder of a new, innovative, and progressive training resource for youth pastors.  ReYouthpastor

We have been in dialog and discussion over the past few months about the emerging trends of contextual youth ministry, as well as our common frustrations with the current trend of traditional models and approaches.  We are like-minded and share a similar passion and vision for the future of youth ministry and for the hope of spiritual formation of students (especially postmodern and “unchurched”).

We also believe there are many, many more like-minded youth pastors and youth leaders out there.

This is the post and perspective of Jeremy Zach, one of the many emerging voices….


My youth pastor blogging friend Dan Haugh over at www.emergingyouth.wordpress.com and I have been talking about somehow uniting  progressive youth pastors across the web.

Obviously, there is a stark polarity in the brands and breeds of youth pastor bloggers.  It is not rocket science detecting what youth pastors are pressing the envelope and what youth pastors don’t have a clue.  In my assessment the progressive youth pastor population is slim.  My point is that there are very few youth pastor 3.0.

The problem is:  the youth pastor 3.0 doesn’t have healthy outlets and networks where they can contribute ideas without getting called a heretic, an emotional basket case, and an outcast.  The youth pastor 3.0 needs spaces and platforms.  Of course, we have blogging which literally turns into a brutal UFC fight and only leaves the youth pastor 3.0 more pissed off with some blood on his/her knuckles.  Trust me, I am talking from a lot of youth pastor blogger brawling experience.

Even though I like pretending to be a tough guy on the web, there needs to be arenas and avenues for unchurched youth pastors to play and articulate their heretical ideas about youth ministry.

Possible steps to obtaining a youth pastor 3.0/emerging web network:

1.  Assemble youth pastor affinity networks all across the web that represents the geological landscape of the USA youth ministry.

–  I really like what firstthird.org is doing.  I really wish I could go and be apart of that, but times are tough.  Firstthird is a dialogue, at Luther Seminary with Dr. Root and Dr. Kenda Dean,about theology in youth ministry.

2.  Identify and clarify who are the youth pastors 3.0 blogging on the web

–  I wrote what I think are the themes of a new emerging 3.0 youth pastors here and here .  Here is a brief list of:  average youth ministry dudes and dudettes that I think get it:









Feel free to make any recommendations…..

3.  Brainstorms what a web network would look like for emerging youth pastors.  There has to be more out there….

Back to Dan…..

We would love to hear from you and continue to progress this discussion in the months to come.  The future is bright so its time to unite (hope you like my feeble attempt at cheesy cliches!)


13 thoughts on “Emerging youth pastors unite

  1. I consider myself to be a progressive youth pastor–much more progressive than any “hipster” type–progressive in theology, in methodology, etc. I don’t know about the “3.0” tag. I can only assume it is a reference to Youth Ministry 3.0. I can see the need to be post-proclamation driven and post-program driven (in fact, I am and have been for some time), but the book Youth Ministry 3.0 really missed the mark for me. So, if we are talking about charting a different course from the past, I get it. If we are talking about how to work out Marko’s conclusions, not so much. I’ll assume the first conclusion. I would love to be included in whatever form this discussion takes because I know youth ministry is not static and I want to be equipped to adapt to the changing landscape of youth ministry.
    One last question: what was the “freaking Obama” reference about? Are you saying you can’t go to First Third because the economy is tanking and it’s President Obama’s fault? That is a pretty short-sighted comment. The headline on the post is Emerging Youth Pastors UNITE. Why include a divisive political comment?
    great observations. Again, the post is Jeremy’s so you would have to ask him. Perhaps I will edit it.
    personally, here are my thoughts
    1) I am attending the First Third conference
    2) i voted for Obama and still support him!
    3) And I do believe that the 3.0 reference is not specifically in regards to the book, but rather to the concept of a new way. I agree with you in that I like the concepts of charting a different course, but do not agree 100% with the particulars of that particular book
    4) wordage or personal views aside, we do want to unite and this is intended to be across political, denominational, and other “religious” differences

    thanks again for your response and I look forward to future progressive dialogs with you.

  2. @Richard–

    You deserve a few points of clarification.
    1. I was piggy backing off of the 3.0 language implying an update and NOT implying youth pastors who are literally importing ym 3.0. So again I am talking about updating and not Marko’s conclusions.
    2. I am sorry about the political comment. I was using a little sarcasm because when in doubt people some times blame the President for the economy. I was joking and I know it is difficult conveying sarcasm via blogging. So I am sorry, if that was off base.

  3. I will unite but only if we can have a cool catch phrase like “all for one and one for all” or a sweet name like the Youth Pastor Post-Program Postmodern 3.0 Justice League.

    Love it! funny stuff. I am a big fan of the Justice League…how did you know
    our true goal is actually to take over the world

  4. wow, if that comment about the president was offensive, I am afraid what my presence will stir up. With that being said, if you’d have me in spite of my divisive satirical sense of humor, I would be in. I’ve not necessarily been real happy with the state of youth ministry and have found myself trying new things and abandoning old ones in hopes of motivating students to love Jesus. I am always game to talk about that with other talented youth pastors.

    I am also not a huge fan of the 3.0 language, its a little confusing. I think we should go with arnies idea, i like the idea of being a superhero.

  5. Hey guys
    Bouncing out my ideas here from Belfast. It is great to be a part of this conversation and to come at the start of something that has massive potential.
    In the last 12 months I have been at a few different conferences/seminars held by various ‘Youth ministry Giants’ from the USA – Duffy Robbins, Kenda Dean and Mark Yaconelli – I have had a few chats with these guys over meals etc and the one thing that stuck out for me from them was their desire for the spiritual development of the young people they work with.

    HOW AMAZING! The 3.0 idea will always be a subversive one as it flies in the face of a hyper active youth ministry programme – we all know these things have their time and place – but on the whole deep spiritual development of those in our care rarely takes place due to the pressure of playing the numbers game or the desire to be known amongst our peers.

    I hope with this generation and with this 3.0 idea and conversation we can breed a new form of thinking, teaching and interest amongst our young people and the wider church.

    Peter, thanks for your thoughts and support. We would love to stay in discussion and connection with you guys across the pond in the UK. We have much to learn from one another.

  6. Below is a comment from a youth pastor in Connecticut

    Hey guys,

    I’m really excited or more conversation too about progressive youth ministry and how we can change for the better going into the future.

    Living and working in New England make this topic especially important for me. I actually left my last church because I was too progressive and the church didn’t want to change anything about the way they did church in order to appeal to our kids. It was really sad actually.

    Change is hard but it is so important if we want the Gospel and the Church to be relevant to this next generation.

    Jake Kircher

  7. I think these are the types of conversations that will help the next generation of students become world changers. I truly believe this post modern mindset is allowing Christians everywhere to make a choice: am I going to work hard to build a relationship with a person FIRST and allow them to see Christ at work in my life or is it too much work and I’ll just scream “MERRY CHRISTMAS” at the Target cashier who has to say “happy holidays” and hope they decide to follow Jesus. People are so ready and willing to have conversations about God – the more I talk with people the more I find that to be true. I’m very excited to see what the next 10 years have in store for youth ministry and especially youth ministry in New England which is such a tough mission field!

  8. Emerging youth leaders
    We have a chance to collaborate on an adventurous project for students in the next three months. God is Loud will be a resource for students to help guide them in spiritual formation for the mission of God.
    If you would like to participate in this project and add insight, please comment on the blog for the related posts for God is Loud or email me directly.

  9. It is amazing how imersed kids are today in false-thinking. They are taught lies on a daily basis whether it be what they watch on TV, listen to on their IPOD, or beingn taught in schools that there is no inteligent designer (AKA God) that created the world and has a specific plan for their lives. Hathiests (Hate – Theist) are what is emerging in our post modern society. It is okay to participate in any religion in our post-modern society but the only intolerable is the truth which is only found in Christ. “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one goes to the father but by me”.

    In Acts 2 when the people were confused Peter stood up and started explaining the truth using the Bible. Why is there only one way to God? How can he be a loving God with all the suffering in the world? How do you know the Bible is True? How do you know Jesus Christ is who He said His is? These are the questions that entire campuses are waiting to be answered. 2 Peter 3:15 “Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within you”. We need to deal with false religions and doctrines by teaching the truth from the Bible.

    Post-Modernism is a move against truth, meaning and certainty. No truth, no meaning and you can’t be certain about anything. But obiously they are certain about there not being truth and meaning. This is a self-defeating arguement and this certainty is brought in to suit themselves.

    Who would want a surgeon or a pilot as a post-modernist. I will use this tool any way I want not based on any truth or forknowledge. I will fly any direction I want no according to any particular destination.

    Ravi Zacharius has some solid thoughts on the emerging church and post-modernism that is a warning to the church today.

    “Let the consumer be the designer of truth” is the predominant philosphy of the emerging church. We need to be relevant but it is the truth that makes relevance relevant. Without truth relevance is relevant. Felt truth is maximized in this philosphy. Jesus always got people to the truth. h

    “Has God really said” is flirting with the revealed Word and making a reality become a feeling or interpretation. We need to conform to God’s Word not the other way around.

    I am including a link that Ravi Zacharius

    Thanks for the words. I love Ravi and believe he has much to say to our generation. He was a professor at my seminary before I got there, but I appreciate, respect, and read his works.

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