When I moved from the Bible Belt to Boston, I knew that I would be in for a change, but looking back, I don’t think I was fully prepared for it. I’m a big city guy, as is my wife, so it wasn’t the change that comes from moving from a rural farm town of 1700 to a suburb surrounded by a million people, no it had a lot more to do with the way I do ministry.
My wife grew up just outside of Providence, RI, and I’ve always kind of joked that there are only 6 churches in that state. It’s a bit of a stretch, but we also went to school at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA which has something like 20 Southern Baptist Churches alone. For a town of 60,000+ people. And again, thats just Southern Baptist. So it’s extremely easy to get the perception that Rhode Island only has 6 churches in the entire state when you’re not driving past one every 30 seconds. Here in Massachusetts, its strikingly similar.
So there were many perceptions I had coming in of how tough Ministry might be when I moved to this culture. But I also had many assumptions of how it could work that were dead wrong.
See, there are certain cultures in our Country that have moved beyond post-modernism to what many call post-Christian. There are books and blogs written about this and Youth Pastors read it and think “my kids skip youth group for sports all the time, I’m totally in a post-christian context.” But if you could see the challenges that we face in New England, you would quickly realize you’re not. Depending on where you are, the odds are that you are not yet doing Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian world.
But you will be soon.
Our country as a whole is moving closer and closer to this every day. The game is going to start changing drastically for many Youth Pastors in our nation, and many will be left with a choice of adapting and learning or being left in the dust as a relic of the past.
And that is why I think Every Youth Worker needs to be at Open Boston. Because there is a collective brain-trust of Youth Workers who have been doing Youth Ministry in this Post-Christian context who have already been getting their hands dirty at this work in this culture, and it will be a great time to experience what I believe is the future of Youth Ministry.
For us Youth Workers in New England, it will be a great day of encouragement, brain storming, and growth in topics we are already wresting with and talking about. For those not in New England, this will be a great day to get your mind wrapped around this concept of Post-Christian Youth Ministry just a bit better. It wont be completely out of your comfort zone, and I can’t guarantee that you are going to hear earth shattering revelations, but I do promise that you will get some new takes on old principles and practices, and it will help you get a new view of how Youth Ministry should look, could look, and most likely will look for your context soon.
So Join me and a couple hundred other awesome Youth Workers on February 2nd at Open Boston. It will be well worth whatever it costs for you to get here.