Thursday, February 10, 2011


Some would say, Youth Forum is now in the ministry of toys.  We find really cool stuff for youth groups to use, get enough of it so that 20-30 people can enjoy it at one time, try to convince youth ministry friends and colleagues to rent it from YF dirt cheap to enhance their regular programing. Some of our most recent purchases are:

4 orignal x-boxes that can play Halo against each other

Multiple Copies of Banana Grams

DJ Laser that covers an entire room in laser dots.

All of this stuff is really cool. At least cool to me. But I can't help wondering about a bigger conversation that is happening in Youth Ministry conversations: Is using toys to draw teens into a youth group healthy, beneficial, practical and theologically responsable? This is a question I'm chewing on quite a bit. It also has major implications for the YMS ministry Youth Forum started last year. I'm going to take a few days and really mull it over and hack out some thoughts for this blog.

My gut re-action is: if a toy creates an environment that a teenager wants to be in, that they might not otherwise consider, it becomes a vehicle for the Gospel and discipleship. As long as the means doesn't become the end. In other words, toys can not become our God. God must be our God. Having focus and balance on the right things is key. I will pushing against these thoughts in a later post, but I'd love to hear your opinion...

Things to consider: is this really secret materialism? Are we cheeping the power of the Gospel on it's own? Is the risk of losing focus to great? Is this simply only "in the world" thinking? Did Christ use toys, the disciples, Paul, early church leaders?

Join to conversation! When you were in high school, were you involved in a Youth Group? What got you there? Did you stay? Did you stay long term? Why?

To those friends in ministry, do you use toys? In what capacity?

1 comment:

  1. I think there is some real worth to toys in a youth ministry, and ministries in general. I think what kept me involved in youth group in high school was not toys but relationships. But I don't know if I would have been there in the first place if it wasn't for the toys. I started my relationships with church friends at camps, and I came to camps at first because I was promised, inflatibles, and pool nights and other 'toys'. These are the things that drew me in but not the things that kept me there.

    Jesus very much did something like using toys I think. He didn't use toys like we think of, because that wasn't his audience, that is our audience. Instead he as God went into our culture, and became a man in order to have a relationship with us.

    In the same way we go into teen culture (toys, music, funny videos) and try to slip in not so we can relive our glory days but so that we can start a relationship and grow together with God.

    Toys break. Culture shifts. Relationships however can transcend these things and is our real goal. Relationships with other teens, relationships with adult leaders and most importantly a relationship with Christ.