Chapter 8: God’s Story as the Context for Our Behaviors and Expressions

As we progress into the Sacred Rhythms portion of Chris Folmsbee’s book, we finally get to explore some of theconcrete examples and ideas of how to put all of what has come before into practice. The last 130 or so pages have been classroom learning, now comes the application portion of the reader’s education.

I entered this section with a little apprehension. Most Youth Ministry books that sell a model tend to share either overly vague ideas to the reader, or concepts and practices that only fit within a very narrow environment. Chris did not do that here. He spends this chapter exploring (very briefly) the mission, goals and drawbacks of the three other main models of youth ministry today (oddly enough, I can see portions of our own ministry fitting into each model), and a fait amount of time exploring why he feels that this Narrative Missional model works best. It engages evangelism, justice, discipleship and community evenly, where the other three tend to focus on only a couple and do them well. He shares the traits and characteristics that one will find in any church that employs this model (a great list. I found myself pausing to see which ones our own ministry models well and which ones we fall short in). He shares what skills and abilities good storytellers share. Then he takes a slightly different route in the practical application segment.

He describes what a story-formed (one who has been discipled through this model) student will look like in process.

He doesn’t paint a picture of a teenager who is fully formed, but shares the things that they will model in their lives on a regular basis, using language of practice and becoming. He shows that we are truly in process, and that we will not produce fully formed disciples in their time with us. But we can impact them enough to get them well on their way.

I am looking forward to seeing how he closes out the practical application in the next chapter.

Some thoughts that stuck with me:

  • Numbers of people served, the number of people who attend, and the amount of influence this type of youth ministry might garner are important, but are secondary to the type of student it sends out. (page 137)
  • The Gospel restores people to God, self, others and the surrounding world. And in doing so, it reveals and accomplishes the mission of God and the work of the church or our Youth Ministries. (page 145)