Later this morning I’m engaging in a fun and eye-opening little exercise that can yield powerful ministry opportunities, responses, and results. I’m going to be meeting with a group of local youth workers who have a passion for knowing Christ and ministering to kids. We’ll spend time watching the film Eighth Grade. It’s a good one (trailer below). Youth workers and parents alike should take 90 minutes to give this film a look. It’s one that offers an enlightening peek into what it’s like to grow up in today’s world.
But don’t stop with just viewing the film. Spend some time talking and thinking about it. The film exposes a reality. And reality always demands a response.
Today, I’m planning on throwing some discussion questions out to our group that I hope will yield Gospel-centered responses to the cultural realities kids must face in today’s world. Of course, every cultural artifact deserves unique, customized questions suited to the unpacking of that particular artifact. But there are a series of four questions that have served me well whenever I encounter something new in today’s youth culture. And these are the questions that I’ll throw on the table today to guide our discussion.
These questions are not original to me. Rather, they come from Richard Osmer and his book, Practical Theology: An Introduction. Each question reflects a particular task, each of which are necessary for theological reflection that results in practical ministry responses rooted in God’s order and design as put forth in Scripture. Consider each. . . and put them to the test. . . when you watch the film Eighth Grade or in response to any other cultural trend you encounter.
Task 1: The Descriptive-Empirical Task. . . which asks, What is going on?
Task 2: The Interpretive Task. . . which asks, Why is it going on?
Task 3: The Normative Task. . . which asks, What ought to be going on?
Task 4: The Pragmatic Task. . . which asks, How might we respond?