Leadership Insights…..Leading EYM style


Recently, I was asked, “If you were to go back and do youth ministry again, how would what you know now change what you would do?” I had quite a few things on my list, (hindsight is amazing!) and here are two of them that are directly related to the Exemplary Youth Ministry study results.

So, if I were leading youth ministry again I would…

  • Act theologically before programmatically. I often looked for the next “packaged program” to help me deliver the “message.”  It could have been relational ministry, mission trips, musicals or milestones. Programs/Methods offered a certain kind of structure that gave me comfort as a young person in ministry, often times in the midst of a lot of unknowns.   I believed that I could adjust method to my theology.  Now I know that I need to develop the intentions and mission first based on my theological convictions, and then work on figuring out the method of putting THAT mission into action.
  • Be more of a spiritual director than a program director. The EYM congregations focused on discipleship of students first and foremost. Their programs were to serve that goal, exclusively.  I honestly wasn’t sure if my programs would fly if I was “just” about spiritual leadership.  I had a limited view of what that meant.  Now I know that “everything is spiritual.”  I would give away a lot more programatic leadership in order to be able to ask the God question in individual student’s daily lives.

Rev. Nancy Lee Gauche worked in Children, Youth & Family ministry for 25 years– for YoungLife and in congregations.  Today, she is program associate for the Center for Children Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary in St Paul, MN.

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