Friday, June 08, 2007

youth ministry in the pacific rim

Great post from Mark Ostriecher on the Asian future of youth ministry.

I appreciate the humility of his opening: let’s face it: the united states hasn¬ít been leading most international youth trends for many years

Question 1: If US is not at the leading edge, then why is NZ youth ministry still so shaped by American models?

Question 2: What could it mean for New Zealand youth ministry to engage with Asian youth trends?

Posted by steve at 01:07 PM


  1. Why is NZ youth ministry shaped by American models, becasue our churches are, when ever new or different models are introduced they tend to get dismissed

    Comment by Michael — June 8, 2007 @ 3:20 pm

  2. Is NZ youth ministry still being shaped heavily by American models?(Other then Paris Hilton)

    I would say the American model may have been a starting point, however surely now the dominent influence on NZ youth ministry and arguably western youth ministry is Australia.

    I think Australia started with an American model but it has now evolved into something that looks similar but is actually quite different.

    Comment by Aaron More — June 11, 2007 @ 10:09 pm

  3. Maybe it’s not a model that’s needed. Could we be thinking too much, wherever in the world we happen to be? To say, “We are going to give them Jesus like this… or that…” is to miss the point. To grab Joe Myer’s words from “Organic Community”, we’re being prescriptive instead of invitational. Which way did Christ work? What if significant influencers (who happen to be Christ followers) simply carved out time to spend laughing, learning, and doing daiy life with young people? Could an entire youth culture be impacted by people who invest relationally in them? Could young people be invited to follow Jesus by adults who simply live Christ in the context of friendships?

    Comment by Will — June 12, 2007 @ 10:01 am

  4. Great comment Will. But I note, with a grin, that you do quote an American. Oh, so hard not to be shaped by others.

    Aaron More, nice to you have on this blog. As staff, we tried to conference call your mum to wish her happy birthday in Puerto Rico on Friday, but alas, found she was in the UK. I presume you are talking about Hillsong and Planet Shakers as major influences on youth ministry here in NZ? Or Frost and Hirsch? Or Duffy Robbins on Baptists. Yep, lots of aussie shaping.

    But if the future is Asian, what then?


    Comment by steve — June 12, 2007 @ 10:11 am

  5. Yes those names you listed are the type of people I was thinking of there are also many others.

    Technology aside I think he maybe overstating the impact Asian youth culture will have in the near future anyway.

    However if this the way the world is heading it is interesting to note both planetshakers and hillsong youth run very successful youth events and programs within Asian countries. The exciting thing about this is it keeps their leaders exposed to the asian youth culture.

    Comment by Aaron More — June 12, 2007 @ 5:44 pm

  6. hmmm.. a late run at this one .. but I fail to see any largely significant influence of Australian youth ministry on NZ youth ministry in the broader picture.. I think it all generates from the same inital model of youth ministry birthing itself into the wider evangelical/boomer church model of the mid-sixties.

    it seems to be that the broader ideas haven’t moved much from there, both an English and American heritage both in NZ and Australia. As the development of our cultures have taken seperate paths from each other, I think our interpretation of the idea has differed, but it’s certainly the same root template at the basis of – dare i say – most?

    having duffy robbins here recently was illuminating, to realise that his key ideas, so radically communicated 20+ years ago are still foundational in how most ‘current’ youth ministry is practiced and measured, across Baptist, open brethren, anglican and presbyterian church models.

    interesting. all of the above is obviously anecdotal evidence, largely shaped by observation.

    i’d like to see so-called ‘youth ministry leaders’ across the NZ church (esp within my contextual circles) front up to the fact that the model/idea .. regardless of where it comes from.. has managed to graduate several generations of young people that have become disenfranchised from significant faith future within ‘church’ (pick a loose definition)… this suggests more of a failing within youth ministry structures than the cultures…

    so I wonder .. how much of the lesson we haven’t yet learnt, will also affect (is already affecting) our (baptist) ability to be relevant across cultures, especially Asian and Pacific Island with any kind of reasonable integration.

    Comment by tash — June 15, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

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