Following on from the debate on here about Youth Work vs Youth Ministry, I find myself torn between the various definitions and more debates on Ian (with graphic!) and Tim's sites. Variously, I feel I have either never done YOUTH WORK or I have never done YOUTH MINISTRY depending on which definition I read.
Phil has put up some well-thought out arguments in contrast to my usual ramblings but nevertheless I am undaunted and have decided to ramble just a little more.
Ami and I were discussing the whole work vs ministry thing and it crystallised some of my thinking. I think a lot of what determines our definition does come down to intention (as Tim and others have suggested in comments).
We celebrated the life of Vincent de Paul today and in leading our prayers I found myself seeking that we should all, like Vincent de Paul serve Christ in serving others and serve others as though we serve Christ. That’s what I do, I hope. That is my intention. It just so happens that what I do happens to be working with young people. I guess that makes it ministry.
If we intend to serve God in what we do that could arguably make it ministry whether or not what we do is formal or informal education, worship planning and leading, playing games, chilling or chatting.
I know this definition speaks against quite a lot of all the academic thinking about it but sometimes it’s all much simpler than the complex theories. Well it is to me.