My particulare model of youth ministry innovation is based around a Norwegian cargo ship known as the "Vindskip". Literally it means "Wind Ship". Bascially the Norwegians have designed a ship that harnesses the wind with it's hull. It's still engine powered, but at critical moments it can use the shape of its hull like a sail. In doing so, it can save massive amounts of fuel as it crosses the ocean. Basically, it stops fighting the wind and starts to use it. This is what the American church needs to do, especially in the area of youth ministry.
What we are up against is a struggle with multiple forces working on a pretty large scale:
Fear- Our families and their teens are afraid of an uncertain future.
Time/Attention- Increasingly we are fighting against scarcity of time and attention.
Pragmatism- Students and families are only interested in things that maximize the effective use of their time for their future. If it doesn't prepare for the future in a way they can see, then they aren't interested.
Participatory- Youth Group can't compete against all sorts of activities that allow kids to work towards a common goal and fully participate. Mostly at youth group kids can participate if they play in a worship band, can share their testimony, or are interested in leadership. We need ways of doing youth ministry that allow full participation.
The idea is that we need to deveopl ministries that understand these sorts of cultural winds and learn to work with them instead of against them. Like the Vindskip. We need to stop judging families for the use of their time and start working with their fears and desires. This doesn't mean we don't need to push back on some of those values and fears. It just means that we need to stop moralizing about them. We need to construct some things that recognize that youth ministry as we know it was designed for a time that no longer exists.