The Dangers of the EYM: Fad, Fiction, or Future?…………………Jerry Watts

I was talking to a friend this week who wondered if all the hype about Exemplary Youth Ministry wasn’t just that.  He was not discounting all the good stuff we’ve been blogging about but he did wonder if we were just moving on to the next new thing, the latest fad, the buzz in youth ministry these days.  He wondered if we remembered that discipleship based on faith markers or what the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit has already been around for a long time.  He’s got a good point.

And that is just the point.  The Exemplary Youth Ministry study found that these  121 congregations had been able to either create a youth ministry of discipleship or to use programs that focus ministry entirely on discipleship.  So much of youth ministry in the last thirty years has been developed around attraction, rather than fruit.

In our weakness we might even use the EYM study as an excuse for why our ministries are failing instead of a measuring stick to help us be transformed.If we regulate the Exemplary youth ministry study to the latest trend in ministry then we forget the power of the Spirit who forms faith and the Scriptures which give us our ultimate list or markers to be accountable to.  That’s really not new at all, is it?

Jerry Watts is a seventeen year youth ministry veteran. He currently serves in Plano Texas.

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    • Amanda Burke
    • March 23rd, 2010

    You have a really good point Jerry. I would hate to fall into the latest fad. It’ll be important to continue to look at the study as descriptive instead of prescriptive. There is a lot of great insight there, however it’s a tool for ministry, not a magic miracle maker.

    • Jerry Watts
    • March 23rd, 2010

    Thanks Amanda. I appreciated the way you reminded us of the difference between descriptive and prescriptive. Part of what I’m also saying is there is nothing new under the sun either. The 121 eym study congregations seemed to remember the call for discipleship and made that part of their congregational ethos. One might say prioritizing discipleship over programing, or maybe better said not assuming that programs can replace discipleship. Great thoughts Amanda, keep them coming. I hope this is a blog where we can have conversations and not just a few folks putting stuff out there…

    • Amanda Burke
    • March 24th, 2010

    Jerry, you use another good phrase “discipleship over programing.” I can’t help but wonder if part of the forgetting this has been due to the ease of just setting up a program. There is nothing wrong with using a program as a tool, but it is not the end all/be all of ministry. If you find the flashy program that gets youth there then they are entertained and you’ve done your job. It’s too easy. I think many of us, at times, look for the easy way out. Discipleship is tough, but worth it. It is an individual investment in faith. It cannot be lumped together in one simple program formula.

  1. March 23rd, 2010

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