The topic of a phrase you hear in youth ministry today has recently come up. The phrase “It is a sin to bore students with the Gospel” is receiving misinformed scrutiny. Of course I take offense to sensationally driven banter over criticism directed at nonsense ideas and unproductive talk. Here is my comment in response to the topic written below.
The phrase originated with Jim Rayburn, a presbyterian youth worker, who received his seminary training from DTS in 1936. He was and still is to this day, even in death, a pioneer in the field of youth evangelism. The statement was birthed in an era where today’s traditional “programmed” youth ministry did not exist. So important was the idea that students should be reached where they are at in ways that were relevant and missional that Jim would use this phrase to train leaders with in changing their perspective on how they clung to old models that were not serving students well. Jim Rayburn went on to found YoungLife.
I do feel and believe in what Jim said for the era he said it in. The spirit of his mentality to go above and beyond in the way you think about reaching students and how you create community to earn the right to be heard continues to impact kids for Christ.
Just like then if we as youth workers continue to isolate our ministry from reality by clinging to models that are not addressing obedience to the Gospel then in all honesty it is a sin. It is a sin to be unwilling to change and to take the most important message that could ever be heard and wrap it in means that are irrelevant and ineffective.