The Role (and Danger) of Fun in Youth Ministry

In some youth ministry communities, fun and games is becoming a four-letter word: avoided, forbidden, wrong. As if fun is something that no serious youth worker would encourage.

Fun is not the enemy. I don’t know anyone who thinks it is. But I do know a lot of people who are suspicious of “too much fun.” I see this youth pastor often who is highly suspicious of ministries with “too much fun.” He makes some good points, but I often feel conflicted about whether or not I listen to him too much. There are other times when I think he’s sharing his concerns because I myself am guilty! Afterall, where exactly is that line between healthy-fun (which provides fertile ground for relationships and cultivating trust) and entertainment-driven ministry (where fun overshadows everything else you’re attempting to do). In the midst of my struggles with this youth pastor’s concerns about too much fun, I can’t just ignore him… because I see him every time I look in the mirror!

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Rooted Article: “Is Youth Ministry Really ‘New’ to the Church?”

Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote for the Rooted Ministry’s Blog. It’s part of a series focusing on the biblical, theological, and historical foundation of youth ministry in the Church. It’s an important issue and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to contribute to the conversation…

It’s a common misconception: Youth Ministry is a new phenomenon and didn’t exist until the Sunday School movement in England. If we insist on “youth ministry” only meaning what we generally mean today (a whole division of the church focused on creating fun, high-energy events where teenagers receive a culturally relevant combination of evangelism and discipleship), then it’s true that youth ministry probably began in the mid-20th Century. The goal of this article is to present the historical precedent for age-specific ministry in the Church for the sake of cultivating faith in the next generation.

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