When Trendy is No Longer Relevant:

Guest blog from unstereo.com:

#winning has not been a trending topic on twitter for a few weeks, Charlie Sheen is still alive somewhere, and no one has listened to a MGMT for at least a month. If ‘Kids’ is still your ringtone you better change it now. The current trends of today will be irrelevant tomorrow, the issue is, in the church, specifically youth ministry we get so caught up in current trends, only for those trends and our ministry to fade away as fast as they came.

Exhibit A: Skateboard ministry. We all have noticed skateboarding come and go, and come and go in our communities. It seems one day every kid skateboards and the next day no one skateboards. A skateboard ministry is born, free gear, stickers!, sodas, and skateparks trips. In weeks the skateboard ministry grows to over 30 kids, who all love skateboarding. What was the focus of the ministry? Skateboarding or showing kids the Gospel through skateboarding? How long does that ministry last? What happens to the students when that trend fades away?

The skateboard ministry peaked in a matter of months and slowly diminished along with the students (so we started a pokemon ministry).

Exhibit B: Napoleon Dynamite. I am guilty as charged. For a few months Napoleon Dynamite was the lead into our sunday morning program. Who can stop growth when you have The Postal Service blaring over the sound system with Napoleon Dynamite clips playing all over the walls because you have the best projectors ever. The students loved it, they brought friends, friends brought friends, and our group at the time went through a serious time of numerical growth. What was the focus of the ministry? Napoleon Dynamite or showing kids the Gospel through Napoleon Dynamite? How long does that ministry last? What happens to the students when that trend fades away?

Napoleon Dynamite was funny for a few weeks but then the students just wanted something else (How can you match Napoleon Dynamite?).

For some of you, I lost your attention when I used 2004’s church buzz word, ‘relevant.’ I hope the rest of you are still reading. The face of youth ministry is always changing but the core should remain regardless. We try so hard to stay current with the culture and times, that we almost completely forget about the gospel message. Short term growth can be found in current trends, but it is almost impossible to stay on that growth path, because just like trends our students are always changing as well. When we focus on the Gospel message, and bringing about a Christ-like community, the trends can come and go but the students will remain. Is your ministry based on current trends or on the Gospel message?

 Now I have been in Student ministry full-time for 11 years….I’ve seen some really great Ideas and some really bad ones! Here are a few videos I’ve found that really drive this point home. I’ll let you be the judge. Let me know what you think!

You Know this guy got fired!







One comment

  1. Amber-Lee · July 21, 2011

    I think there is a fine line between trendy and intune with your community. The skateboard ministry is pretty much gone, you’re right – unless you’re either in certain places in Chicago or at the Cornerstone Festival. It does work in those contexts, though. So in that case it would be “intune.” It’s the difficult task of the minister to know what will reach a community without needed to change it up three months down the road.
    At least the Gospel is always constant 🙂

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