I recently made my 5th
trip to Europe seeking to fulfill a call that I have to western
Europe. On this trip we continued our ministry in Amsterdam, Holland
for a week and then traveled to England to visit some youth workers
there that I had met in the states at a Cultural Shift conference in
California and others I had met via the internet.
I wanted to get a
first hand look at ministry in a post-post Christian culture. A
youth culture that was similar to ours and which looks like the
direction that our own nation is heading toward, short of Divine
revival. I had read and heard a lot about the stirrings of revival
in the UK and had been spiritually-impacted often by the worship
that was coming out of England. I was hungry to get a glimpse at
what was producing such fresh worship.
I knew that the
sources of such refreshing streams had to be great.
We spent 4 days in
London, 1 Day in Bournemouth, and two days in Southampton.
Kensington Temple in London; a brother/pastor formerly of BLISS in
Bournemouth; and Sublime and
Southampton Community Church
ministries were amazing in so many ways, I was surprised by a lot
that I encountered there.
First of all I was
shocked by the utter simplicity of what was being done.
Sublime,the most surprising of all, was so
stripped down. Just a room, 70 kids, a young worship band, a lot of
passion, zeal, and loud playing, a short talk by a student and
soaking in the Presence.
hands on learning stuff
No food (gasp,
gasp, choke! How can that be???)
No flashy lights
(just a sheet with two colored lights shining on it, and some smoke)
youth pastor “leading” everything, in fact, who was leading this
No titles (the most
refreshing and humiliating aspect of it all, they are just people
over there, no titles, front seats, special parking spaces, special
greetings, or different voices tones)
methodology or strategy (students lead cells, students are in
relationship with older workers, prayer, worship)
Absent was all the
“stuff” I expected to see coming form “Big & Better World” of youth
ministry here In the states.
I was crushed.
Because I expected
to see “something” but instead I found: simple people, loving kids,
empowering them to do the ministry and really just sitting in the
back seat giving directions when needed! Which in the end really was
the most revealing “secret” of it all. Actually equipping believers
to do (drive) the works of ministry instead of just talking about it
but always driving the car!
There they dared to
have a ministry that was prone to all the challenges of letting
others grow and learn to serve the Lord. The ego-centered need to be
“in the light” was absent at least in such obvious ways as it is
here. It took me the whole service Sunday morning to figure out who
the “Pastor” in the church was!
I felt like the
guards needing Judas to kiss Jesus so I could figure out who was the
Such an absence of
hierarchy was stimulating.
There were other
clues to a where such living water was coming from in their
vibrant, exuberant, and edgy worship! They let this generation
express their love for God and worship of Him in their own “voice”
and style. It was loud, it was passionate, it was messy, it was raw,
it was loud, it was danceable, it was loud, it was tender and
sometimes angry, it was loud, it was wild! It was corporate, many
people, not just a few entering in.
The most revealing
“secret” I saw was the relationship between Dave (a youth pastor)
and Andy (young leader). I was talking to Dave and he mentioned in
passing three words that summed up his relationship with Andy:
Disciple, Brother, Friend. Not necessarily in that order. It
revealed to me the foundation upon which such works were growing:
love. In fact when we came to Dave’s house, Andy
opened the door and walked right in to the fridge! You know that is
close, when a student feels at home to eat right out of your fridge
Andy even had a key
to Dave's house.
I was humbled by
such trust, friendship and love.
Does anyone in your
ministry have a key to your house?
Basically I was
once again reminded of the simple strategy of Jesus: Love people,
empower them, cover them in prayer, model the “way” with them not
just in talks to them and live it out where they are at.
In a day when it
seems that in order to have a “successful youth ministry” you have
to be a cross between “Disneyland, Toys R US, and Superman. It was
refreshing to see some brothers and sisters making an impact on a
post-post Christian nation, in ways that I can do too.
Blauer is Youth Pastor of
Ground Zero, the
Youth ministry of New Hope Christian Center, Spokane WA. He is
married to LeeElla for almost 11 years and has four kids
(Christian 8, Destiny 6, Austin 4, Micah 1). His ministry
To IMPACT a lost and searching generation with the gospel
and love of Jesus
To IMPART a passion for Christ and to serve the purpose's
of God for this
To INVADE youth culture with love, creativity, zeal and
to respond to this article. Click here
to discuss this article on the Next-Wave Discussion page.
[^ Back to