Marko has written a great post about the future of youth ministry [a link! let’s get those Technorati stats back up!]. He asks this vital question:

if youth ministry past was “proclamation-driven”, and youth ministry present is “program-driven”, what’s our hopeful ‘driver’ in the future?

And Marko takes the conversation deeper with this question about how we would shape the character and ethos of future youth ministry:

if youth ministry past was focused around key themes of EVANGELISM and CORRECTION, and youth ministry present is focused around key themes of DISCIPLESHIP and POSITIVE PEER GROUP, then what would be the key themes of this preferred future?

I love the discussion this has generated in the comments section of this post. It is beautiful to see the hearts of so many people dedicated to serving youth and the passion with which they love them. I really needed to hear these words; I have been pretty worn out lately, and it does my heart good to get my nose off the grindstone for a moment and walk alongside others, even if it’s just to listen in.

I think the amount of conversation this has generated also speaks to significance of asking the right questions — and Marko has given a wonderful example of how people come alive not through yet another top-down, I’m the expert with all the answers lecture but through excellent questions that get to the core of who they are and what they’re all about.

While I can’t say that I agree with everything in the comments (and, really, when does that ever happen?), I appreciate the deep engagement so many people have shown with theology and praxis. Of course, whenever I enter these discussions, I automatically begin filtering and re-processing my thoughts to contextualize it to Asian American youth ministry.

If we want to revitalize Asian American churches, so much of it begins with youth. This is part of what drew me back into youth ministry after several years of serving an adult congregation. Asian American youth (Korean American kids, in particular) are so churched, and yet this does not result in healthy churches. In fact, many young people end up leaving the church in droves, a silent exodus of thousands.

In the next couple of weeks, I will try to put together some thoughts about how I see the future of Asian American youth ministry — or, at least, how I would like to contribute towards building a better future.