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Did Youth Ministry Create the Emerging Church? (Pt. 2)

Why youth ministry is the cause of, and solution to, all of the church's problems.

What I find most interesting about Tony Jones' thesis is the way it can explain far more than just the Emerging Church Movement. I think contemporary youth ministry may also help us understand the rise of the megachurch movement in the late 1970s and 80s (and perhaps other movements as well). The number of megachurches exploded in that time from just 10 in 1970 to over 500 by 1990, and most were led to mega status by baby-boomers with youth ministry backgrounds.

The whole notion of a youth culture really emerged after World War II. Television, Rock ‘n Roll, and the economic boom after the war resulted in a generation of young people with disposable income and the opportunity to express themselves in ways foreign to their Depression-generation parents. To reach this new breed of adolescents, first parachurch ministries and later churches started "youth ministries" that mimicked the styles and forms of the secular youth culture but with "safer" Christian content. Contemporary Christian music ...

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