There are obviously taboo words in the world of student ministry – this article is not about those. Instead I want to talk about 3 words we all use regularly and repeatedly in our ministry context. 3 words that I think we need to remove from our vocabulary.
Why is this talk of language important? Because the words we use define our ministry, our vision, and our viewpoint.
Most of us use the word “kids” all the time without even thinking about it. We use it when we’re talking about our teens and when we’re talking to a group of them. It’s an innocent sounding word, but it’s loaded with context.
I don’t know a single teen who would describe themselves as a “kid”. In fact for many of them, it’s a title they joyfully escaped the moment they became a teenager. Why? Because the word connotes a sense of childishness. It’s the exact opposite of “adult” – a classification so many of them are seeking. The word “teen” on the other hand, separates them from the little kids they used to be. When you call them a “kid”, they often feel lumped in with a bunch of 9 year-olds.
Most important, the word “kids” is not an empowering word. It’s a word with little to no positive worth. When people are called a “kid” the common inference is that they are “just a kid”. One of our biggest goals in student ministry should be to empower young people, to encourage them and build them up. Everything we do should be reinforcing our belief that God has called them to do great things – that he has anointed them and set them apart for GREATNESS now (not just later, when they’re adults). If they feel like we’ve labeled them as “just kids”, it becomes way harder to advocate that they live out 1 Timothy 4:12.
Find Out the Other Two