so, what does youth ministry actually do?

July 23, 2008

I started out my theological training 6 years ago with the sole intention of being the worlds greatest youth pastor. OK, so theological training has a way of taking ideas like becoming the “greatest”anything out of you, which is a good thing. Theological training also opened up the world for me, and over the years my eyes was opened to know that there is more to ministry than youth, and more to following Jesus than ministry.

I still remained involved with youth camps all through my studies, but since June 2007 I’m back into youth ministry. The challenges has changed since I was at school, or maybe all the years of theology just opened my eyes to a world more complex than I thought, opened my eyes to all the kids who don’t care for what we youth ministers are doing. But OK, I’ve been back for a year, and I’m slowly starting to find my feet again, I think.

I found this quote a few days ago in a book I use frequently when planning camps, well, actually I use it much less nowadays, because I practically know it by heart by now. But I printed this quote in 2005 and pasted it into the front of the book:

I look back over my years in ministry and ask what has actually helped people change and deepen spiritually: (1) youth retreats, (2) short-term mission trips, (3) some small groups (I say some – others were a waste of time), (4) many one-to-one relationships, (5) getting people involved leading something or serving somewhere.

It’s from A New Kind of Christian, p122. Maybe I need to do some checks more ofter, to see how much of my time I spend on these activities, and how much on keeping kids busy.

Must add though, I just got back from an AMAZING conversation with one of the young leaders in our congregation. She is roundabout 15, and we talked theology, I explained the worldview of Biblical writers, the process in which the Bible came into being, how it was canonized, and most importantly how I see Jesus. Great conversation, she is currently reading The Secret Message of Jesus. Remember the post of a few days ago? Well, I think today might have been part of the reaction to it.

A question: What books would you recommend for high school kids? I’ve been realizing lately that most books I read I’m either not comfortable with, or I fear they are too complicated. Blue Like Jazz is a good idea, but what else?


4 Responses to “so, what does youth ministry actually do?”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Hi There

    I have a question maybe you can help. How do you keep
    the youth from leaving.


  2. cobus Says:

    A question in return, what do you want to keep them from leaving? Sometimes they need to leave… what is it that we want to keep them at?

    • godsatr Says:

      Is not the goal to keep them in faith and show them how it helps in their lives? To be there for the kids in any situation to provide hope for them? The important thing I think is to be there for the kids, no matter the age, and the parents when they are in need and provide reassurance and hope and advice and a verse when they need it. The goal is to be there for them and not because it is for oneself. The goal is to let them know they have someone there for them in which then you can in turn point to Christ.

  3. Todd Says:

    Hi Andrew. I notice that your above post was from a number of months ago, so you may not even see my post. I’d suggest Mike Yaconelli’s Messy Spirituality…I gave it as a gift to all of my adult volunteer staff and my youth who serve as small group co-leaders last year. Then, when our team was planning our monthly themes for this past fall, a slew of them wanted to do two months on Messy Spirituality plus our Fall Retreat! It was a hit…Really deep and challenging discussions, both in our large group and in our small groups as well…I highly recommend it.

    I’m curious, what books do you recommend? Did The Secret Message of Jesus connect pretty well – I need to read your post on that, I suppose.

    Well, God’s Grace this Christmas week!

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