Theological and Strategic Commitments………………..Rollie Martinson

There are long held assumptions in American Christianity that effective youth ministry has to do with adopting the newest techniques, the finest resources, the best training programs, or securing the most dynamic leader.  Given such assumptions, one would expect to find these factors to be at the forefront of in the congregations of the Exemplary Youth Ministry study.

Indeed good practice, resources, training and leadership are present in the congregations; however, these factors in themselves, are not sufficient to describe the influence these churches have on the faith of their young people.  They may not even be at the heart of these faithful and effective ministries with youth. Among a great diversity of Christian traditions across the United States, in congregations of every size in all regions of the country, in churches who are deeply influencing the faith and lives of young men and women, the EYM study discovered that distinct theological and strategic commitments make the most profound differences in faithful and effective ministries with young people. These theological and strategic commitments reflected in age-level youth ministries that were integrated with intergenerational congregational and household ministries with youth generated cultures of the Spirit that seem to make these EYM congregations so influential in the lives of mature Christian young people.

Rollie Martinson was the Director of the Exemplary Youth Ministry Study, and currently serves as academic dean at Luther Seminary, St. Paul MN.

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