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youth ministry, youth worker, safe, overrated

Safe is Overrated (part 1)

By Doug Franklin January 29, 2013

Safe is one of the most used words in Christian culture. We want to make sure all the events we do with students are safe. We want to make sure all the students who are going on an event are safe. We don’t want anyone who is different from us on an event. We also want to make sure the content of the teaching is safe. We don’t want any topics to be discussed that would subject our students to information they are not “ready” to handle. Oh, we also want to make sure the adults with our students are safe. How long have they been at the church? Do they have children, because only people with kids really understand students. How about where we’re going, is that safe? Mission trips, camps and retreats should all be held in places we are familiar with. This for the most part is good common sense thinking.

Have we considered that safe has a cost? Students that have only experienced safe will tend not to take risks and the last time I checked influencing the world for Christ required risk taking. I believe our lack of focus on evangelism is directly related to our focus on safety. Our students’ inability to change their culture is directly related to our focus on safety. Our students walking away from church is related to our focus on safe versus our focus on the life of Christ.

Youth workers can’t give in to doing ministry in the safe Christian culture. We must find ways to challenge students even though they and their parents live in the safe culture. First, youth workers have to want to break the grip on safety in youth ministry. Second, youth workers need to master planning and intentional communication. These two skills will be essential in making sure you can walk the line between safe and risk taking.

Tomorrow’s blog I will address specific ways we can walk the line and give our parents and students a safe but challenging experience.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More