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The Youth Cartel

A Revolution Against What?

“Instigating a revolution in youth ministry.”

This is the tagline for The Youth Cartel.

Last December, during our annual retreat, we spent a couple of hours kicking around exactly what that meant, what it didn’t mean, and even spent extended time to list out dozens of areas we’re seeking a revolution in the form of an internal manifesto, of sorts.

But over the past year I’ve kept coming back to the grounding question about this revolution we talk about… What are we revolting against?” 

A Revelation About the Revolution

A couple of weeks ago, during the benediction at a worship service, our worship pastor answered this question for me. He hung words on something I’d been looking for words on… and it was flat out a revelation for me.

He said something like,

This revolution, [he was talking about our church] is about death. We’re partnering with God so death won’t win.

Dang. So good. And so true.

See, our revolution isn’t about tearing anyone down or ascribing to a so-called-right-way to do youth ministry or destroying/fighting with/pushing aside other organizations… we’re actually all about celebrating the crazy diversity that is the current state of youth ministry.

But The Youth Cartel’s revolution? We’re fighting the death of youth ministry.

Whether by entropy or lack of popularity or being maligned as unimportant— we’re against that. We’re pushing back against that, resourcing, gathering, and encouraging youth workers to fight against those things— this is important!

We believe specialized ministry by adults to adolescents is vital to the health of the church. It’s to be celebrated widely, innovated within, encouraged from the platform the boardroom and behind the scenes, resourced extravagantly, coached up, taught formally and informally, and then re-taught. Yes, it’s a quirky segment of the church. Yes, some of us are weird. Yes, sometimes it’s a one-eared-mickey-mouse organizationally. Yes, it’s hard to measure. A yes, it’s absolutely a mess.

But youth ministry is important.

It’s worth fighting for.

And it’s revolution worthy.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando with their three children.

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