Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Downside of Big Events (part 2)

If you're just joining this discussion, read my previous entry first.

I just want to wrestle with a few questions. Let's assume for this discussion that big events are about evangelism - proclaiming the good news about Jesus and helping teens find salvation through faith in Him. I've planned and participated in tons of these events.

Let's also assume that there are teens who find Jesus through these events.

And let's assume that most of these teens who find Jesus are likely not to continue in relationship with Him. Please resist the temptation to discuss the doctrinal differences we might have in this (i.e. "he was never really saved to begin with" vs. "he lost his salvation"). Let's just acknowledge that a large number of teens who say "I'll follow Jesus" at these events don't.

Now let's assume that big events take a ton of time (and many times, a ton of money) to pull off.

Here are the questions to consider:
  • Are big events worth it, especially considering what they do to condition our teens? (see my last post)
  • Could the time, money, and energy spent on big events be better spent elsewhere?
  • In the long run, is it better to teach teens to minister in the context of their everyday lives? (this is something that every good youth ministry does, some more successfully than others)
  • How are our big Christian events viewed by those who aren't Christian?

Remember, I acknowledge that there are times when taking the bus is better than taking the skateboard. These questions are just designed to help us think through the implications of driving the bus next door to borrow an egg from the neighbor.


Terrace Crawford said...

I've been having a continuing convo with a leader in our area who has been questioning some of the same things you are here. It makes for interesting discussion - sure enough.

Joel Mayward said...

I recently inherited a youth ministry that is very big-event focused. My very first week we took over 150 people to a large theme park for a weekend. Afterwards, I was given the opportunity as the "new guy" to share the Gospel.

What was hard for me in this situation was feeling similar unease about big events as you have written. How many students will continue to follow Jesus after this weekend? How much money, time, and energy did we just spend? Do we do this event because it's become a "sacred cow" in our ministry, or because we really feel it is helping students follow Jesus better?

Great post, and a great blog.