Youth ministries have one major advantage over regular church ministries. We do not have the ability to demand excellence. Most teens simply aren’t that talented, and every teen needs acceptance. So our programs tend to reflect progression of talent rather than arrival.
On the other foot, somewhere along the line a church growth expert decided that excellence was the key to attracting new people. And so churches began to compete to be the most excellent. If my program is louder, hipper, and shinier than yours, people will come.
. . . Let’s forget about any consumerism connotations for a brief moment, though that is one of my favorite topics . . . (speaking of elipses, do you say “dot dot dot” or “period space period space period space” as you type it out? I, surprisingly, say the latter) . . .
Meanwhile, back at the church, we created a need for expert programers. Suddenly the main requirement for a head pastor was to be an excellent speaker. The main req for a worship leader is to be an excellent musician, and sure it’s nice if you love Jesus too. When we judge everything through the lens of excellence, normal people get excluded.
Perhaps we should pursue participation and shoot for excellence rather than demand it.