Friday, May 11, 2012

Scouting as an internal ministry

A large amount of the posting that I have done here assumes that most scouting sponsored by churches is an outward facing ministry. That is, it is done with community involvement in mind. It welcomes people of all faiths,    and is not intended to include specific religious teaching from a particular set of beliefs.

There are certain exceptions to this. This would include cases where the scouting group is assumed to be open only to people already in that faith, and is run at least partially as an internal youth group would be run.

I wouldn't say one approach is superior to the other, but it is important to understand the difference between them. In a scouting group open to the community, a wide variety of faiths will be represented. In order to welcome others in, it is sometimes necessary to avoid focusing on the specifics of one's faith.

As an internal group, where all members are from within the same denomination, A scouting organization has a great deal more flexibility to incorporate important parts of the faith, and emphasize those, without worrying about what those in other faiths might think, since they wouldn't be part of the group, or hearing that particular lesson.

There is one major group that I can think of that utilizes scouting as an internal ministry. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (i.e. Mormon Church) commonly runs Boy Scout Troops and Cub Scout Packs that are intended to be primarily for members of the church. They utilize the framework of scouting as an integral part of their youth ministries.

It's definitely an important decision to make when a church begins a scout unit... Is this going to be primarily for us, or primarily for the community.

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