How Relationships And Stories Shape Identity
We tend to organize our youth ministry from the inside out. We give gathered groups of individual youth tools and teaching to form their souls around a Christian identity. So far, so good. But what if our identity is not merely or even primarily rooted and established somewhere inside ourselves? What if our identity is shaped and cultivated in the relationships we inhabit–each with their own distinctives and demands—and in the overlapping stories we find ourselves in? Prefabricated approaches to ministry that focus on the interior makeup of our youth may make for good youth group members, but these limited approaches don’t reach beyond the youth room into other corners of their lives. Rather than centering them on the faith, our inside-out approach may be pushing their faith to the margins of their life. Brandon McKoy mines the insights of social construction theory to help us locate Christ not in our hearts but in our midst. We learn to embrace him as our own and our students as whole people engaging in a life’s worth of encounters. Approaching youth ministry from the outside in, we discover our students in a whole new light—and with them, the fullness of our faith.