Jim Dekker is Associate Professor of Youth Ministry in the Center for Youth Ministry Studies and has been teaching there since 2002. Jim is a dear friend and we share a love of the outdoors and of laughter. He earned his B.Th in Pastoral Studies at Ontario Bible College (Tyndale College), his M.A. in Christian Education from Calvin Theological Seminary (Grand Rapids), and his Ph.D in Educational Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of numerous articles and book reviews and he enjoys camping, fishing, kayaking and sailing.
Jim’s expertise is in a wide array of topics that inform youth ministry. In this interview on the YS Roundtable, Jim tackles an under-discussed topic that silently confronts our ministries every day. When we can identify the systems in our community, locate others who can help us work within those systems, and then develop more effective strategies for youth ministry, we can see a higher level of effectiveness in our ministry. But, hey, Jim talks about this much more eloquently, so I’ll leave it up to him:
I was watching The Voice on NBC last week and found myself really enjoying it and laughing a lot, not as common when watching TV these days. I thought, “Why am I laughing so much?” Then it hit me that I was captivated by how much fun the four judges were having together and how much they seemed to be enjoying each other. Most reality shows feature arguing since producers think conflict and snippy judges make for interesting TV. This year Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and new judges Usher and Shakira (who is other-worldly popular among the four judges, illustrated by her 20+ million Twitter followers) really like each other – and you could tell it. It was like a bright light on TV and Twitter lit up about how much fun it was to watch the show because of the fun the judges were having together.
Think about why the YOUTH MINISTRY GARAGE video show is so popular among youth workers. It’s not the content that we’re drawn to (just don’t tell the hosts that) as we watch Doug, Josh, Katie and Matt interact with each other. Maybe we like that they answer questions and interact with the audience. But, I think we’re drawn to them as a group because they like each other (as far as we know, at least). We watch it to be encouraged by that, we laugh with (and at) them, and we are drawn into their world. And because of that, many of us feel encouraged and like we can continue on for another month in youth work. read more…