Its About Congregational Culture……………………………John Roberto

The Exemplary Youth Ministry congregations present a portrait of the strong impact faith communities can have on the faith and lives of young people when churches set their minds to fully enfranchise young people in their life and ministry.  When pastors, congregational leaders, parents and adult youth leaders work together to promote real commitment to young people as full members of the body of Christ and carry that commitment across the life and mission of the entire congregation, teenagers mature in faith and grow to respect and love their church.

The EYM study demonstrates how age-level youth ministry and ministries with family are dependent upon and greatly enhanced by congregations setting youth people and youth ministry as one of its essential priorities.  If a congregation is not willing to make this commitment, youth and youth ministry will always be tangential and second rate.  The congregation’s commitment to young people is essential for an effective ministry with youth.  As one pastor from an EYM congregation put it:  “Youth Ministry isn’t something we just do on the side.  It is central to EVERYTHING we do. It drives a lot of our decision-making and how we spend our money.  It is who we are.”

EYM congregations represent churches of all sizes from a wide variety of contexts.  Its not about size or location.  Its about who you are.

John Roberto is the Executive Director of LifelongFaith Associates-, and was the Roman Catholic member of the original Exemplary Youth Ministry Study Leadership Team. This post is an excerpt from an excellent article in the Winter 2009 issue of the journal Lifelong Faith.

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