The Occupying Church

matt514 On his blog recently, Adam McLane theorized the very difficult statement Youth Ministry is Flatlining.  Basically his argument is…

Statistically speaking you are flatlined. (As in– no heart beat!) You’re reaching just about the same percentage of people you’ve always reached. That may be OK from a church politics situation but I’m not sure I’m OK with that from a theological position.

And I’m positive that this flatlining has lead to the following problems in youth ministry over the last decade:
> A general cynicism about youth ministry internally and externally.
> A decrease in youth ministry staff and general budget funding.
> An increase in expectations that new youth ministry staff grow the program immediately.
> Lots of great youth workers moving on to other ministries or careers.
> The rise of family ministry models designed to circle the wagons. (Historically, youth ministry existed for evangelism. Popular models today are primarily interested in keeping church families engaged.)

Adam is NOT providing answers in his post, but he is asking perhaps the right question. Do we set up youth ministry, or church for that matter, for the very slight percentage that can dedicate a thin sliver of the pie chart of their lives for us? Or to utilize the language of the Occupy Movement…  Are we designing our ministry to the 1% when the great commission calls for us to go out and make disciples of all the nations… ahem, the 99%.

So, what changes to kick life into the flatlined?  It doesn’t make sense to step up our present efforts… We can only provide those eclectic paddles of more intensive efforts so often before before we admit our same old, same old solution won’t work…

Maybe we have to expect more of the 1%… not just to treat them as recipients or customers, but as actual collaborators. Perhaps, we have to also find new ways to collaborate in the lives, in the arenas, where young people are spending the pie charts of their lives. Perhaps we need to understand ourselves as the Church that occupies… like Jesus did.  We need to find ourselves within meals of others, not just at our Eucharistic meal. We need not to enclose the Living Waters within our  Churches, but to share them in the Samaritan Woman’s wells of young people’s lives.

What changes if we re-configure our church, our ministry efforts to occupy on behalf of the 99% we are not reaching?

D. Scott Miller

D. Scott Miller is the dean of Catholic Youth Ministry bloggers which is a polite way of either saying that he is just plain old or has been blogging for a long time (since 2004.)

Scott recently married the lovely Anne and together they have five adult young people and also grandparent three delightful kids (so, maybe he is just plain old!) Scott presently serves at Saint John the Evangelist in Columbia, MD as the director of youth and young adult ministry.

He has previously served on the parish, regional, diocesan, and national levels as well as having taught within a catholic high school. He is one of the founders of RebuildMyChurch and has returned to posting regularly (keeping regular is important to old guys) at ProjectYM.


D. Scott Miller


D. Scott Miller is the dean of Catholic Youth Ministry bloggers which is a polite way of either saying that he is just plain old or has been blogging for a long time (since 2004.)

Scott recently married the lovely Anne and together they have five adult young people and also grandparent three delightful kids (so, maybe he is just plain old!) Scott presently serves at Saint John the Evangelist in Columbia, MD as the director of youth and young adult ministry.

He has previously served on the parish, regional, diocesan, and national levels as well as having taught within a catholic high school. He is one of the founders of RebuildMyChurch and has returned to posting regularly (keeping regular is important to old guys) at ProjectYM.



Questions or Comments?

Join the conversation about The Occupying Church over in our Facebook group. GO THERE NOW

Try Out Our New Online Membership Community for Free!

Click the button below to find out more about Thrive and claim your invite to a free trial of the new community created exclusively for Catholic youth ministers.

CLICK HERE

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Become a ProjectYM VIP



You have Successfully Subscribed!