How do you define "program"?
If you've read any sort of youth ministry book in the last few years, you've probably heard how youth ministry as a whole needs to move away from program-based or program-driven ministry. The word program has been the new devil-word in youth ministry. But I haven't had any author really explain exactly what is a program (or if I read it, I don't remember). So is meeting once or twice a week a program? Is taking your group to camp every summer a program? Is doing a mission trip every summer a program? Is doing the holiest of ministry tactics, the coveted small group, doing a program? So how would you define "program" and have you tried to move away from program-driven youth ministry? If so, what have you done?
- 4 Answers
I agree that "program" has been demonized, which is silly.
I define program as the structured times in our ministry. Sundays, Wednesday, events. Outside of that I try and connect with students relationally, but I'm also doing that systematically, so I guess you could call that a program as well.
I think the authors are trying to make the case that just setting up a Bible study time and a game does not constitute ministry, you have to be relationally involved in the lives of your students.
Which, is really a no-brainer, but I think it is a reaction to the huge mega-events of the '80s & '90s.
Programming is neutral, it can be good or bad. What these authors should be doing is explaining what a GOOD program looks like, not be anti-program.