Youth Specialties » The Evangelism-Discipleship Teeter Totter

Here is an article I came across and through that it articulated the evangelism and discipleship tension very well.  It is something that is on my mind a lot.   enjoy the read and comment here if you would like or at the youth specialties blog (link at the end)

The Evangelism-Discipleship Teeter Totter


I attend a church plant in the Mid-City area of San Diego. It’s a neighborhood filled with hard-working immigrants from all over the world. That part probably isn’t surprising. But this is: My family joined a church without a youth ministry! Up until this point, the priorities of the church haven’t focused on youth ministry. Some mentorship sprang up organically and some short-term stuff was done which were both primarily organic and the result of pursuing other priorities. But there really wasn’t anything you could point to and say, “This is how Harbor reaches adolescents.

Yesterday, I sat down with a couple pastors from the church to talk about launching a youth ministry this Fall. As much as I’m a youth ministry nut, I agreed with them that up until this point– youth ministry didn’t need to be a priority. There are plenty of other excellent ministries doing a good job in our area among adolescents. This allowed them to focus on reaching other people who weren’t being reached. But now, for a lot of obvious reasons, this is the right time.

As we talked, we talked about designing something that complimented their vision for the church. Creating a ministry leadership  that is sustainable, a ministry that meets practical needs, a ministry that complimented the parachurch ministries instead of competed with them, and a few other things you’d expect from 3 guys dreaming about youth ministry over tacos, rice, beans.

For me, a key part of this conversation was understanding what the church wanted to get out of having a youth group. Having done youth ministry for all of my adult life I know that every church leadership team has both stated expectations and unstated expectations. The stated ones are always big and obvious. But the unstated ones take some digging.

The Teeter Totter

Here’s how I understand youth ministry in the church. Maybe this is jaded, but it’s been my experience. As much as we’d like to be an equal, complimentary balance between evangelism and discipleship, it always plays out that one wins. Either evangelism or discipleship becomes the default home.  Typically, people of the church desire a ministry heavy on discipleship. Typically, the vision of the church calls for an evangelism focused ministry. And typically the youth worker lives in that tension of seeking a little bit of both.

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6 Questions

“Leaders do not need answers. Leaders must have the right questions.”
— Lovett Weems

Purpose of 6 Questions for The United Methodist Church (6qumc)
* Raise important questions for next steps in the life of the denomination.
* Provide guidance for future face to face gatherings.
* Shape the discourse across the denomination.

6 Questions is for all the people of The United Methodist Church.

You are invited to:
* Vote on questions on the topics on the left side of the page.
* Submit questions for the topics on the left side of the page.
* Invite two other people to share in this project with the link:
* Visit for more information and other ways that you can participate in this project.
* Pray for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven.

End Date – September 30, 2009

Some time to stop and watch the waves

This week we are taking some time to just be. Katie and Eden and I are at the beach with Katie’s fam. It is a wonderful time to recharge the batteries that are in some serious need of refueling. Looking forward to the rest of the week.

Also I am trying to think about some of the ways I can creat a more helpful blog for youth workers.  Look for some of the changes about when school starts. 

Plus, I am tryign to get a Bible reading plan going on that I will also have to go along with the blog. 


🙂 have a great week and look here for some other stuff coming soon.



Originally uploaded by pastorchrisbishop

Today i have spent a bit of time at Georgetown University. I went to go grab some food at the only place I could find that had something better than candy bars. When i got to the place (the touch screen) where i was to give my order I was lost. All of the sandwiches were named for buildings from campus. I had no clue what i was trying to order. I decided on quesidillas (well at lest that is what i ened up with).
how do we in the church use language that makes outsiders feel like we are talking a secret language? How do peoele find out what rhwy are ordering in our ministries? how can we be more clear?