Thursday, February 15, 2007

shopping carts and youth ministry

In January, on our way to see family, we stopped at a store (let's call it Meijer) for a break. Some of you won't know what Meijer is - its like Wal-mart, that's about the only comparison I can make. :)

Anyway, I saw something that made me sad. Really sad. (I wish I would have had my camera to capture the moment) They have a new level of shopping cart available now. Not only can your child ride in a fancy car or boat or whatever - now they can watch TV while you shop. Yeah, you heard me correctly. You child can sit and watch a cartoon while you shop, for a $1. You can now buy a cart that has a TV in the front and you push the cart around and your child watches Bob the Builder or Barney or the Wiggles or....

You have got to be kidding! Can our children not last 30 minutes to an hour in a store without watching TV. I guess that way they don't have to wait until they get back into the SUV with DVD in the backseat to finish the episode. I mean come on, can kids really not stay away from TV that long.

but then I got to thinking. How often do we try to do the same thing with your ministry? I mean, we talk about how the days of flash ministry are fading. But are they really fading for the "average" youth minister? Is there not something inside of us that wants to have flash.

I mean flash has its advantages. Flash is instant. Flash is noticeable. Flash gets noticed. Flash "shows" people we are doing something. Flash draws kids.

But flash has its disadvantages. Flash does not help a student through tough times. Flash is all about surface. Flash can take away from God. Flash is about feeling good about the "job" you are doing. Flash does not last. Flash will be outdone by someone down the street.

For me the whole shopping cart is about getting a kid to like the store for the TV, not for the store. In youth ministry, its easier to try to get a student to like the ministry for the "fun, flash, ______" and not because of the God we serve.

Are the other leaders or congregation forcing us to do flash? When people look at the ministry and they do not see an increase in numbers does that force us to do something to keep our job? Is the desire for "flash ministry" a product of misinformed laypeople? How can we pass on the need to be deep? Who needs to pass this on?

I'd love to hear your thoughts. This whole TV shopping cart just got me thinking...

No comments:

Post a Comment