7.15.2008

What Do The Experts Know Anyway!

I was snooping around CPYU.Org and stumbled across this recent list of Top 10 television shows.

Rank TV Program Audience (in millions)
1. America's Got Talen t (NBC) 12
2. Wipeout (ABC) 9.5
3. Criminal Minds (CBS) 9.1
4. So You Think You Can Dance - Thu. (Fox) 8.8
5. CSI: NY (CBS) 8.5
6. Two and a Half Men (CBS) 8.5
7. 60 Minutes (CBS) 8.2
8. House (Fox) 8.1
9. CSI: Miami (CBS) 8
10.Hell's Kitchen (Fox) 8
Source: Neilsen Media Research

Do you remember several years ago when the "Reality T.V." craze kicked into high gear? At the time, most television experts and pundits went on the record as saying that reality tv would only last a year or two. It's interesting that in the list above, 4 of the top 10 tv shows are reality shows. In fact, 3 of the top 4 fall into the category!

The lesson: Experts and pundits aren't always right. Every field has its experts, and in every field, those experts can often be wrong in their assessments and predictions. Youth ministry is no different. And is often the case in other fields, the youth ministry experts, pundits and predictors of things to come are often far removed from the real world of youth ministry. I appreciate the wisdom and observations of men and women who observe trends, society, theology and try to help us figure out where it's all heading. But I also realize that they can be wrong. It doesn't make them less smart or less authoritative, just wrong sometimes.

Keep reading, keep going to seminars, keep talking to people you respect. But don't change your entire ministry based on what today's hot youth ministry topic is among the experts.

When I look at that list I notice a couple things:
First, things change and progress, and that's vital to progress.
Second, while some things change, lots of things stay the same.

Perhaps that's not a bad way to look at youth ministry.

Some questions to chew on:
- What things in your specific ministry have changed that you didn't expect?
- What things did you think would have changed by now that haven't?
- What things desperately need to change and you are willing to make it happen?
- What things must never change?

1 comment:

Chris S. said...

Great post Kurt! These are some of the same questions that I keep going back to year after year in my planning and it was a great reminder for me as I'm heading out on a planning "retreat" tomorrow!

As for the last question, we have decided that the things that must never change about our ministry is the emphasis on our leaders' relationships with Jesus and the priority of adults hanging out with kids.