Meditate on This

Help me understand something that’s happening with the youth ministry I’m responsible for:

A student of mine (call him Steve), on his own initiative and without consulting me, approached an adult in our community to teach him and some of his friends meditation, and he offered the church as a sponsor and venue. The adult in question is known to me, and I regard her highly.

I spoke with her, and we scheduled three dates for a meditation experience that she would lead at the church. We sent out general publicity to our roster of students via email and text, but I insisted that participants primarily be recruited through Steve. I wanted him to invite his friends.

I couldn’t attend the first week (another adult did), but I attended last night. There were nine students there. Two of them are part of our congregation. The other seven represented Steve and six of his friends (five of which were girls). Steve’s mom is discouraged at the lack of participation by church youth, but my reaction is the exact opposite. I love this.

I love it because I have a growing conviction that ministry as a platform and youth ministry 3.0 insights are for real. During the last program year I blogged about Maggie and her use of a couple of church programs as platforms for her and her friends to do good work. This seems to me to be the same thing. Except it’s Steve and his friends.

Going into next year, it seems that several youth ministry “participant communities” are emerging. While there is still the traditional community of students from the church who come to weekly youth groups, there is also the community of Steve and his friends and the community of Maggie and her friends. The challenge will be to work with that traditional community on programming for them while also discerning opportunities to work with those other communities in meaningful ways.

Help me out: is this the right way to be interpreting what’s happening? Where else do you see this happening, and how does one discern well opportunities to do good work with new communities of students?