On Mutiny

mutiny |ˈmyoōtn-ē|
noun ( pl. -nies)
an open rebellion against the proper authorities, esp. by soldiers or sailors against their officers : a mutiny by those manning the weapons could trigger a global war | mutiny at sea. See note at uprising .

I’ve recently been reading Ministry Mutiny by Greg Stier.  It’s a story about a youth minister in the midst of frustration that often happens in ministry.  He’s the guy in the church that many in ministry have heard about: focused on numbers and “fun”.  He is at the point when he knows there is something more, but is uncertain of what that “more” is, and how to get there.  He is ready to resign, and meets another youth minister, who spends time coaching him on how to revolt and turn his ministry around.  Truthfully, while the specifics are different, having been at Eastview for 5+ years, I too find myself uncertain of the “more”.  That said, I believe that Stier is on to something with his six steps:

  1. Listen for God’s Whisper: I’ve been working through this step as I’ve read the book of Daniel and here is what I’ve heard God tell me about our ministry at Eastview: Our role as youth leaders is to be a prophetic voice to the students that come.  God knows the hearts and minds of our students, and we need to seek Him out so He alone can tell us and reveal the meaning of their lives to them.  Ultimately, they do not know their purpose, but He does, and only by calling on Him can we translate the times.
  2. Get Real: We need to be honest and open with our students, about who we are, about who they are and about Who God Is and what He’s done for them.  We must be honest about our own doubts and allow them to doubt.  This doubt and questioning will lead to them questioning what and why they believe.
  3. Go Wide: This is not a numbers game, it’s about equipping our students for evangelism ministry.  It’s about “seeking and saving the lost”, and about being in relationship with people.  Additionally, it is about practical steps that need to be communicated so that people can live out what they’ve been taught.
  4. Grow Deep: Simply, this is about teaching the depth of the faith.  What exactly is it that Christians believe?  Do our students know?  Could they tell others?  Is it theirs?
  5. No More Outsourcing: This chapter is about turning the role of lead discipler of students back over to the people that it belongs to: the parents.  This requires a focus on the part of the entire organization, not just the youth ministry and honestly, I see this step as the linchpin, if family-based ministry is not seen by the church as the primary vehicle through which God disciples young people, I do not see how there is success.  See my earlier thoughts on this here and here.
  6. Built on Values, not Fads: Have not read this chapter, yet.

So…why is this a mutiny?  Because the above, especially point 5, is completely counter to the way “we do church”.  We’ve spent the last 30-40 years teaching parents and families that we are the experts.  Because we have not equipped the family, we have robbed them of their God-ordained task.  And then, as their kids leave the church in droves, they look to us and wonder what we’ve done wrong.

In closing, I looked up the phrase “successful mutinies” on Google.  On the results page, I saw the following in a summary: “Hence, although there were some successful slave mutinies along the Middle Passage, most Africans who attempted to revolt were killed in the process…”

How encouraging.

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Filed under General Church, youth ministry

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