I am obsessed with Jason Bourne. In fact, I have been known to dream about getting into the CIA. If I am bored and nothing is on TV, I will fire up the Jason Bourne trilogy. I have logged over 150 hours watching these Jason Bourne movies over and over again. Because of this, I wanted to connect Jason Bourne with youth pastors to find certain commonalities both share. So I had a blast writing this exclusive blog post: Jason Bourne’s Basics For Youth Pastors.
The skills Jason Bourne and Youth Pastors Can Share:
1. Cross Cultural Thinking – Jason Bourne had several passports and fully immersed himself in many cultural communities for short periods of time. Youth pastors need to be hyper excited to immerse themselves and their students in multiple cultural communities and contexts. Therefore, take students on mission trips to lands and cultures that are very different then your current context. It is important to deepen awareness not only in your students but also in yourself, because complacency sets in if stuck in the same professional Christian environment for too long. I would venture to say: leave your current youth ministry environment 2-3 times a year to allow time to learn from other cultures (annual overseas trips are amazing, but you can also add several domestic opportunities to ensure that all of your students have a chance to serve outside of the comfort of their own community). See Seth Barnes’ free resources for cross cultural youth workers.
2. Quick Thinking – No matter where Jason was or who he was with, he was able to make fast and effective decisions to get out of any problematic situation. In youth ministry there are tons of unexpected events that transpire, which force youth pastors to think quickly on their feet. The more experience youth pastors get in handling themselves in unexpected situations, the more able they will be to stay calm when proverbial poop hits the fan.
3. Tri-Lingual — Jason Bourne was able to speak 7 languages (English, Dutch, German, Italian, French, Russian, and Spanish). The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, and the New Testament was written in Koine Greek before our present day Bible was translated into English. There is something about being familiar with the original languages that allows for deeper comprehension and a greater ability to interpret what the original writers were attempting to say. Jason Bourne is all about immersion, which involves learning the language of each culture and country he travels to and works with. So, he would require youth workers to master the original Biblical languages–Hebrew and Greek. Here are a few ways to learn Biblical languages without paying a fortune for seminary training: Learn Biblical Languages, Learn BIblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew , —> these two resources are the best: Resources for Basics of Biblical Hebrew, and Resources for Basics of Biblical Greek
4. Tactical Improvisation– Jason Bourne was highly resourceful. He was always able to make things happen, regardless of the many limitations he faced. Youth pastors must know their church traditions and context in order to solve problems. Use the resources God has already given you and your church. Find new solutions using resources that you already have. More than likely the solution is sitting right in front of you. When you face a problem, take a quick inventory of what you already have around you to solve the problem. Here is a small, simple example: When I ran out of seating options in a youth room too small to add more chairs, it would have been easy for me to run out and purchase benches, cushions, etc. to solve the problem. Instead, I remembered that a family in our church was trying to get rid of some home goods, and they were planning on taking everything to the dumpster. Additionally, a teacher in the congregation was planning on taking a hiatus and I knew she had pillows and cushions in her classroom. I offered to “store” them for her in the youth room! I was able to help two members of the congregation while at the same time solving a problem in the youth ministry.
5. Master of Disguise – It didn’t matter where Jason Bourne was, his outfit would blend in and adapt to his current context. He was able to quickly put on a costume or a disguise to increase his likelihood of success in a given situation. Youth pastors: make sure to have multiple clothing outfits in your youth ministry office closets. The beauty about the youth pastorate is that you interact with a variety of people–teenagers, principles, teachers, senior pastors, parents, coaches, students, adult volunteers, and what you wear matters. Chap Clark, a youth ministry professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, taught me that a youth pastor’s clothing needs to match the type of people he/she is meeting. Present yourself like a respectable adult when meeting and interacting with parents and adult volunteers. Your outfits should resemble the majority of your audience. How you present yourself (including what you wear) does really matter.
6. Enjoy Electronic Gadgets – Jason Bourne had all the latest technological gadgets and so should youth pastors. Technology is a youth pastor’s friend, so embrace it. There is no need to feel ashamed to get the latest gadgets. I am guessing here, but I think Jason Bourne would want youth pastors to have the following electronic gadgets in their youth ministry:
– A big 3-D TV in your youth room
– The most portable keyboard ever for your office
– Portable Universal Cell Phone Jammer (trust me your youth group students will never use their cell phones during youth group ever again!!!)
– Spy Sunglasses (you never want your students to know that you are spying on them outside of church to check up if they really are “Christians”)
– A Tracer (you don’t believe your students are reading their Bible? Place a tracer on them)
Ok, so maybe you don’t need to get ALL of the above gadgets (though I highly recommend taking the cell phone jammer to your Elder Board or finance committee), but I definitely do recommend incorporating technology where you can. One important thing to remember is that your technology should create a PARADIGM SHIFT, meaning that there is a change in the way things are done.
Don’t simply use technology in youth ministry to continue doing the exact same thing in a new way. For example, if you are using a perfectly decent old school overhead projector to display your worship lyrics, purchasing an LCD projector to simply project those same lyrics might be frivolous.
Jason Bourne uses technology that allows him to do things that would be impossible without it. If you do buy that LCD projector, make sure that it enhances your ministry and allows you to do things that you couldn’t before. In my youth ministry, I had a student who became too ill to attend youth meetings regularly. I decided it was time to purchase a HD webcam. The webcam enabled us to use Skype, which made it possible for the student to attend youth group from home. Essentially we did youth ministry via webchat. The webcam made it possible for us to do something we couldn’t have done any other way.
You won’t get grief for having the latest gadgets if you can show that they truly change the way you do ministry and expand the ministry itself. Jason Bourne harnesses technology that revolutionizes how he gets missions done. Youth pastors experiment with new technology that provide a new function in how to do youth ministry. The worst thing that can happen is it fails and you lose money, but your students will still think any new technology you are using is cool regardless of it’s functionality.
Now consider your youth ministry influenced by Jason Bourne.