As you may have guessed by a previous article of mine about common fallacies found in critiques of youth ministry, I get pretty testy when it comes to people's opinions and critiques of different methods of ministry. I'm not against us making things better, but I go a little crazy when I read a majority of the comments, articles, and books that are a part of this conversation. (Some definitions first. When I say ministry, I'm speaking of ministries in the Church that deal with evangelization and catechesis. Also, I'm using method in a broad sense. Think Lifeteen, YDisciple, peer ministry, Adoration, Lectio Divina, gregorian chant, small groups, experiential catechesis, inductive methods, deductive methods, praise and worship, talks, skits, activities, coloring books, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, relational ministry, prayer ministry, conferences, spoon man, summer camps, etc. etc.)
I'm working on an article that I hope will offer a framework for evaluating methods and methodology for ministry, using specifically youth ministry as a practical example.
But I want your input first.
While doing some reading I came across this quote from the GDC in a fantastic chapter on this exact topic. It is Caroline Farey's work in the book The Pedagogy of God. Her chapter is titled "Methodology in the Light of the Pedagogy of God".
Here's the first:
"The Church, in transmitting the faith, does not have a particular method nor any single method. Rather, she discerns contemporary methods in the light of the pedagogy of God." General Directory for Catechesis 148
Caroline takes this quote to set up her thesis that all methods must be evaluated against God's pedagogy, or God's method.
(I love this because one of the biggest problems is the lack of distinctions we make between the objective and subjective ways we speak about a method.)
Caroline's bold claim is this:
Catechists (read youth minister, blogger, DRE, Diocesan Minister, speakers, etc) need formation, firstly in the deposit of Faith, then in the pedagogy of God... and then in how to examine methods and methodologies in its light in order to discern those methods that are suitable for communication the Faith and those that are not."
Caroline Farey in The Pedagogy of God p.163
So Here's my question to you:
How do you evaluate different methods of (youth) ministry? What makes a particular method successful?
Answer in the comments below or email me. Say something smart or witty and I may include it in the article I'm writing. I'm looking forward to the discussion!