Well it must have done at some point. Given that it’s barely used or mentioned. Jesus is, but sometimes even he is taken out of biblical context. More the ‘jesus of my life’ than the Jesus of trinity, of creation , the author and the redeemer, the biblical one, the revered one through history.
Without the Bible who is Jesus?
So coming back to the point, its noticeable that many new emerging churches have a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the bible and practices that seek to embody it. It’s as equally noticeable that ministries that seek relevancy are ignoring the bible, deeming it out of step with culture.
Maybe it happened when youth ministry turned to culture or missiology or sociology to be it’s lead. It read that young people are non book, non literacy culture, therefore books became films became soundbites became emojified.
But if the bible is irrelevant then turning it’s form into emoji isn’t changing it’s historical context, or its meaning and how it is to be interepreted. And I’m sure my new living translation is actually written in English already, the last i checked, the language of the British culture. It’s only the form that changes not its content. It will still need the wise guide to interpret and make meaning of it such as the Ethiopian in Lukes recollection in Acts.
But if young people in youth ministry aren’t given the bible then how will they ask questions?
And what kind of guides can youth ministers be if they have limited understanding of the tools to interpret themselves.
I am so grateful for the time spent at ICC (now sccm) doing biblical interpretation as part of a Christian youth work course. It was hard work but so worth it, to be able to bring questions to the text, to wrestle with it and to give it opportunity as Brown suggests, to communicate God back through it.
If we’re to have disciples and leaders of young people equipping them with tools to interpret, and more than that, a view of the bible that isn’t lost in the fun stuff (and god is the boring bit). However I guess if the time allocated in services to reading it vs singing vs preaching vs notices, maybe the bible has a small prominence in some churches too… youth ministry might have just followed the lead of the church…
The question is also – what can be done to rectify it? What need to change about the relevancy culture in youth ministry, that stems from an underlying desire for telling and evangelism, rather than serving the church long term in the form of ongoing biblical discipleship, in growing leaders, in transforming the world towards Shalom, part of the mysterious plan and drama that all the current scenes are part of. Without depth in the Bible- where might depth be at all, how can a young person follow the word of God if they’re not reading and studying the previous words of God for themselves or in their groups. However, before criticising the youth group – observe the actual use of the Bible on Sundays, and at evangelical youth ministry conferences.. sometimes they could exist without the bible at all…