“Cynicism is killing youth ministry.” Ray, a Young Life veteran said these words to me and several other guys my age who were in youth ministry. To be honest, we thought Ray was overreacting at the time and possibly just showing his age. It has been about 7 years since I heard this statement from Ray and now I see the painful truth of his words.
I’ve heard quotes like “We can destroy ourselves by cynicism, just as effectively as by bombs” or “Cynics are made not born,” but the one that hit me between the eyes was “the opposite of creativity is cynicism.” I have a confession to make: Cynicism is a frequent default for me, and it’s related to laziness. When I’m too lazy to cast hope or think creatively about youth ministry, worship, or church, I stoop to lifeless statements that all too often get a costly chuckle.
Then there is God-given creativity. God, by nature is creative. When our strategies, messages, and lives reflect the creativity of God, students begin to see that God is continually up to something new. Creative words and thinking bring life our ministries, and when I reflect on my ministry I know this is true.
While cynicism seems to be the flavor of the day for many people in the church, it is clearly divisive and life sucking. What will we choose today? Cynicism or Creativity?