new blog topic, new youth ministry. change is in the air.

so for awhile i've been wanting to blog more specifically about things related to youth ministry, but just hadn't jumped on it. i don't really want to start another blog...i've got too many as it is. so i thought i'd hijack this one that's been laying mostly dormant anyway.

now also seems like a particularly appropriate time to start, as i'm also starting a new job. after 4 great years at The Chapel, i began just two weeks ago at First Friends Church in Canton, OH...the church i grew up in. i'm pumped to be back & looking forward to an exciting time there over the next several years.

one of the interesting things about starting at a new place is trying to find the right balance between continuity, culture, and your own individual personality. on one hand you don't want to overwhelm students or parents with a total overhaul of things too fast. it's also helpful to spend time listening, learning, and just plain "being" to get a feel for what the culture is of your new home. however, sooner or later (and the sooner or the later become the question) the youth ministry has to take on some individual & personal feel associated with who you are. oftentimes i've heard a sort of "one year" principle thrown around...keep things as they are for one year, until you can get a feel for it all, and then start making changes at an appropriate pace.

before i continue, one note of clarification. making changes to align things more with your personality doesn't mean simply pulling out your bag of tricks and putting it to work in a new place. instead, it has to involve a careful connection of the culture and community of your new locale combined with intrinsic pieces of you are, not necessarily extrinsic practices (programs) that you've done before.

at First Friends, however, i'm considering moving at a different speed. nothing had been planned or set up for the fall, so i already have a clean slate to work with (no cancellations needed). what's more, there's change occurring everywhere right now, due to a large staff turnover. while initially intending to wait for awhile before instituting any dynamic changes, i'm now planning on moving a bit faster (in about a two month time frame) with some changes, taking advantage of the current "ok-ness" there is associated with change. the Middle School youth ministry at FFC has looked pretty much the same since i was in it (16 years ago!), while a lot of culture has changed.

so...now the questions becomes what to change and why...


Matt Wiggins said...

I vote you go back to a goatee. That's what all the cool (male) youth directors have.

(BTW, the word verification is "oobmaod." I like it.)

ldeane said...

well, I have to say, not that I wasn't aware of how thoughtful you are, but this again reminded me of how you really take into consideration so many things and how great that is. Change can be great and simultaneously difficult...no surprise there. But it refreshing to hear that you are listening and taking it all in..so good luck with everything as you continue to sink into your new surroundings and breathe in the new air and all the opportunities within it...