The Source for Youth Ministry


JONATHAN: Program. When I say that buzz word, "program," what do you think?

KURT: I think what people are pushing back against isn't the word, it's what they obviouslyassociate with the word.

JONATHAN: Absolutely.

KURT: So they associate big events, "lights, camera, action." Kids won't come unless it's bigdollars and a big stage. So they view that as a program. And they are pushing against that.

JONATHAN: Sure. And they are almost talking about that extreme point of view as if there issomeone out there that is saying, "You need this stuff to be successful in youth ministry."

KURT: Right. And I don't think anybody...I mean there are probably still some people that saythat, but the truth is, lots of youth ministries were built on that, and still probably are.


KURT: To me, when I hear the word "program," I think the word program is just a fancy word for"the stuff I do." I mean, everything I do is some kind of program. I'm programming a camp, oreven if I'm programming a silent retreat where we're going to sit under the trees, well I'm still goingto pencil in when we are going to break for lunch, and when we're going to load the vans, you know. So,for me, that's programming. It's just the stuff I do. It's programming.

JONATHAN: I like that. I think it's a definition people can grasp onto because it's kind of likethat philosophy "wherever you go, there you are." You can't NOT program.

KURT: That's right! You can't NOT program.

BRANDON: Well you can, but your ministry would reflect that...

JONATHAN: Actually, then your program would just be sitting on your butt!

Later in the podcast...

JONATHAN: Do you think that the large group "monster truck voice" event is the launching pad forsome of the smaller points in ministry?

KURT: We do the large, or "monster truck" version of programming. But I also believe that it is notessential. We do it, but that doesn't mean we have to do it. I have a trust that my kids are betterevangelists than any program I can create.


KURT: So, if I have the right leaders hooked up with the right kids and kids lives are beingchanged, I like to think those kids will word of mouth "Hey man you gotta come to this small groupbecause it's really changing my life." Even then I would still have summer camp. Camp could providethe monster truck. One Friday night a month during football season, like a 5th quarter, could providethe monster truck. I think I would always want somewhere for kids to get the large, "wow!" event. There'ssomething about kids coming together. Even we as youth workers go to conferences like Youth Specialtiesand such. There's encouragement, there is hope. You find out that you're not in this alone. So why wouldI not want that to be a part of our ministry. But, we do not have to have it.

JONATHAN: Sure. Now what I hear you saying is that the programming of events is a tool foryouth ministry, not THE tool for youth ministry.

KURT: Absolutely.