The consequences of youth ministry

Skye Jethani commented recently on an idea put forth by Tony Jones, suggesting that relational youth ministry is responsible for the emerging church movement (read Tony’s blog here).

Jethani suggests some of the unintended consequences that may have come from the model of youth ministry that has been practiced for the past several decades:

…I’m concerned that youth ministry is forming the values of isolation and activism into Millennials. They’re relationally isolated from other generations in the church, and their faith is isolated from any sense of calling or vocation. At the same time they are linking faith to social action toward the poor and marginalized, but this is often emotionally driven without a theological rootedness that can fuel engagement when emotion runs dry. Without a robust theology of justice, in time compassion fatigue may set in and activism slip into apathy.”

And it got me to thinking. What does this mean about the way the next generation of Christians relates to a religiously-diverse world? Social action that is not rooted in theology is a concern – especially when social action is the way one relates to people of other faith traditions. What do you think?

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