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In Quest of Asian Models of Youth Ministry

Author: Andrea K. Iskandar
Date: 10.08.2010
Location: Jakarta | Indonesia
Category: Reconciliation, Media Engagement, Evangelism Among Children

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Originally Posted in English

The age group defined as "youth" in Asia is often different than the one defined in western countries. In my country, Indonesia, for example, people aged 30 often still live with their parents as long as they’re not married. Even when they do get married, traditionally, married young people are never really "released" from their families as well. They’re still "their parents’ children". Parents - upon becoming grandparents - will take part in rearing their grandchildren. And as parents age, children will be responsible for their parents and take their parents under their care, in the children’s homes. The term "empty-nest" takes a whole different meaning in Indonesian context.

Different as they might be from their counterpart in the West, Indonesian youth are also immersed in the same Internet and multimedia influence. The penetration of Internet connection, iTunes and BlackBerry - not to mention the mushrooming cable TV access available at more and more affordable price - ensures that what’s happening in the realms of developed world can be well-grasped by Indonesian youth as well. So in one hand, these youth live in an almost totally different socio-cultural setting, but on the other hand they breathe the same digital air of progress and taste the same freedom of mind.

However, the penetration is not equal as the socio-economic gap and education gap between the haves and the have-nots are still great. In Jakarta alone, the capital of Jakarta and arguably the most progressive urban area in Indonesia, we can still find high school students whose daily allowance would add up to several hundred thousand rupiahs - they go to elite schools which delivery language is English, drive their own Mercedes, dine at fancy restaurants - while there are children aged 10 who must wake up at 4:00 am to sell newspapers. In Jakarta urban area, it’s not a strange thing to find a 15-year old standing on street corners in daylight doing nothing; their parents can’t afford to send them to schools, but apparently not too poor to buy them a BlackBerry or some 3G phone. Cell phone is deemed a pride factor for many Indonesians, while education is just something that puts extra suffering to poor families since that means another child can’t support their family living cost, even though many government schools are practically free.

With these in mind, churches in Indonesia face a unique challenge to answer the needs of this group called "youth" but which apparently has many colorful facets among its members. The socio-cultural setting, the advanced technological progress, the society’s value and attitude toward education; all of these also influence the church’s approach toward answering the question, "How do we stay relevant?"

Despite churches’ realization that they need to change to stay relevant for the younger generation, the maxim that "Youth is The Church Tomorrow" (thus, not the church "today") and the reluctance to ask "Who are these people we want to serve?" has hindered many churches to be relevant for the younger generations.

Keywords: asian, youth, youth ministry, jakarta, indonesia, research, model

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PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Danny (0)
Indonesia

owhh yesh yesh yesh... lets go get them, before we’re getting too old for them or the opposite. Im afraid we’ve lost several years of relating to Indonesian youth, and it means we have to start now (?).
About the research, where do you think we should start?
I think the plan will be at it’s best, if after the research, we do start sculpting the model for Indonesian Youth ministry by doing... hmm... I can’t really figure it out now since we haven’t got the map. But for me, let’s have a mutualistic relationship here. You do the reasearch and I’ll see what I can do for the experiment. Hahaha. I mean the real action. 
Are you really in this? Coz I am.


12.08.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down AndreaIskandar (0)
Indonesia
@ Danny:

Hi Danny


Thanks for the passionate response :-D


> About the research, where do you think we should start?


My team along with the R&D team at my church have conducted two small scale researches. I’m thinking about getting the bigger picture of Jakarta within several steps. If that’s unattainable, we may try to cooperate with some synods first.


> I think the plan will be at it’s best, if after the research, we do start sculpting the model for Indonesian Youth ministry by doing... hmm... I can’t really figure it out now since we haven’t got the map. But for me, let’s have a mutualistic relationship here. You do the reasearch and I’ll see what I can do for the experiment. Hahaha. I mean the real action. 


Yes, certainly. That’d be great! :-) With the scale of the work and the great stake it has, I think networking is crucial.


> Are you really in this? Coz I am.


I am! :-)


Let’s get the plan rolling. ... I’ll PM you.


12.08.2010

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Indonesia

PhContributeBy Andrea K. Iskandar
 
Location: Jakarta
Country: Indonesia

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