I went to my first youth group meeting at a church around the time I was discovering my love of rock and roll. I was one of those unchurched kids who knew little about religion or christianity. In my early teen years I was lucky enough to have friends invite me to their church youth groups and also to Young Life. I’m grateful for these ministries, because they saved me in so many ways. Over the years my love for Jesus and rock and roll have both developed. Now I find myself serving the church as the Associate for Youth and Campus Ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. I have worked with teens for over twenty years and have been a youth minister for the last thirteen. In that time I’ve noticed a good deal of change in both youth and church culture. In the time we’ve gone from analog to digital, we’ve started asking some big questions about how and why we even do youth ministry.
I recently developed a renewed interest in listening to music on vinyl, and started a record collection. I still use my iPod, but I love the process of pulling out a record, setting it on the turntable, and dropping the needle. Somehow it makes me feel more present to the music. I began to wonder if there were some correlations between the change in how we listen to music and how we approach ministry with young people. It seemed to me that “vinyl youth ministry” was a good starting point to play with the tension we are all experiencing. So this blog is my meandering attempt to address what still “sounds good” in youth ministry and what keeps us present and focused on what matters most. Feel free to join the conversation and leave comments. Thanks for reading.