Change is counterintuitive to the typical person. Most of us like some semblance of order, synchronization and structure to the chaotic worlds that we live in. It brings us a sense of pathway and progress. We tend to work within the system that we've become accustomed to and it comforts us when we excel within that system. But what if that system has reached its limit? What if that system is as good as it is going to get? That's when systemic change must take place.
It takes pioneers in various fields to push us average Joes and Jolenes above the fray and help us to look at the system in a different light. At some point, somebody riding a horse thought, "What if we could lay down some tracks and put some kind of motorized machine on those babies that would propel it along faster and to take more cargo with us?" Then, at another point, somebody riding a train thought, "What if this train had wheels and ran on the road instead of tracks? What if it was driven by a gasoline engine instead of a steam one?" Maybe it was riding in a Model T that propelled the Wright brothers to come up with the idea of making a machine with wings that flys. From airplanes and automobiles to cell phones and microwaves, just about everything we enjoy as a modern convenience is a result of pioneers saying, "The old system was good but there's a better idea awaiting."
I believe this same thing needs to happen in youth ministry. We need pioneers in the field of youth ministry who are going to think Biblically, creatively and relevantly to say "the old system was good but here's an idea to get us there farther and faster." Now you may not think of yourself as a "pioneer" but most of the pioneers in the past were people like you and me who were discontened with the system and set out to improve it.
Systemic change comes from asking hard questions. These questions fly in the face of "we've always done it this way" and "don't rock the boat." But who said change was easy, or comfortable for that matter?
Jesus called it "new wine in new wineskins." I call it making systemic change. Whatever you call it, now is the time for innovation in youth ministry: to dream, create and refine a new system of youth ministry that gets our teenagers farther and faster toward the ultimate destination of Christlikness.
What is our little contribution to this process at Dare 2 Share Ministries? To recalibrate youth leaders toward THE Cause of Christ and to get them on board with youth ministry as a mission and not just a meeting. For more information check out http://www.dare2share.org/thecause.
What will you contribute to the systemic transformation of youth ministry? It may be something little or big but it is needed. I am calling all Henry Fords and Thomas Edisons to kick your creative juices in gear, dust off your Bibles and open your eyes to the new possibilities of youth ministry in a postmodern, economically-depressed, spiritually-open age.
Getting our teenagers down the road of becoming like Jesus is what we've all been driving for in our Model Ts. Getting them to their ultimate destination faster is where your prayerful innovation kicks in.