Post-Modern Ministry in Small-Town America

I grew up in a city with a 76,000 + population (Census 2000), a school system made up of 9 elementary schools, 5 middle schools and 3 high schools. The high school I graduated was on a campus with the other two high schools and they worked much like a college campus; students would have a “home” school but they would travel between all three buildings throughout the day for classes. My graduating class was over 650 and the schools together totaled over 5,000 students. My classmates knew what blogs where even before mainstream America picked up on their popularity. These kids knew how to hack into computers and develop slide shows using the most advanced software (witch at the time was Microsoft Power Point) and they knew how to make everything look modern and streamline. Our classrooms had at least one desktop computer in them with the latest version of Microsoft Windows (XP) and basically everything about the schools was technologicaly advanced.

I lived in a community where parents knew exactly about the technology their kids were into because most of the time, the parents worked for companies that employed the same type of technology and many times even designed and built systems to run on this type of software. My classmates subscribed to the latest issues of Sports Illustrated, Teen Magazine, Cosmo and some even PC Magazine. It was a given that if I were to use blurbs or news from the latest trends in fashion and celebrity gossip, the students in my ministry would know exactly what I was talking about.

About a year ago I made a move to a church about 30 miles north west of my metropolitan town to a city of around 4,000 people total, 3 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 1 high school. The students in this city have no idea , what Podcasts are, don’t listen to or watch much (if any at all) TV, much less MTV or VH1. These students have no clue about the latest movies or celebrity gossip. I showed a picture of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise and they couldn’t figure out why Iwas using that picture as an illustration to a lesson I was giving about premarital sex. The names “Anna Nicole Smith”, “Jessica Simpson” and “Simon Cowell” (American Idol) mean nothing to them. These kids are amazed at my understanding of how to research using Google, and Power Point is a new invention to the minds of these small town students.

Parents in this community don’t have any clue about the world around them – they live, work and breath small town and they don’t have any reason to think otherwise. I have never lived, much less, ministered in a community such as this and I am at a loss as to how I should minister effectively. I am struggling to convey thoughts and be relivant to their lives when my life is so very much different than theirs.

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~ by mattdb84 on September 29, 2006.

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