Congregational Faith……………….John Roberto

What kind of congregational faith and life nurtures you of maturing Christian faith?  A surprising discovery emerges from the findings of the EYM study: entire congregations make a difference in youth ministry. The congregations in the study are powerful faith and life shaping systems.  Youth ministry doesn’t exist on the side of or separate from the life and ministries of the congregation. Youth ministry is integrated into and supported by the congregation as a whole.  Data from this study indicates that effective youth ministry exists as an integral dimension of a youth-friendly, youth engaging congregation.

The EYM congregation’ integration of young people into the fabric of their lives and ministries is evident in the attitudes of young people toward their church. The data shows that overall culture and climate of these congregations deeply impacts their young people.

In the EYM congregations, getting to know a personal and present God involves more than just dogma or obeying a particular set of rules. These young people come to know a living and active God through relationships with God and the community.  Certainly young people learn the Gospel, the story of Christ and his teaching, and the rich and substantive Christian traditions. The young people in these congregations get to know Jesus Christ through the Witness of believers and ongoing relationship with persons and communities who know Him.  The power of faithful, multi-generational Christian relationships  (“sociality”) is at the heart of effective youth ministry.

John Roberto is the Executive Director of LifelongFaith Associates- www.lifelongfaith.com, and was the Roman Catholic member of the original Exemplary Youth Ministry Study Leadership Team. The Winter 2009 issue of the journal Lifelong Faith contains an excellent overview article of the EYM Study results.

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    • Amanda Burke
    • March 29th, 2010

    I agree that youth ministry is a congregational ministry. It is not just something on the side. I also wonder what that means for those of us that are in jobs titled as Director of Youth and Family Ministries or Youth Minister etc. Many times we get pigeon-holed as well. I believe it is also our job to model those intergenerational relationships. So although we are technically hired to work with the youth we should also seek out ways to interact with the entire congregation. Go to the quilting ladies potluck lunches. Engage in conversation with the Men’s groups. Seek out those in the retired persons cirlces. Model intergenerational relationships for the youth and the congregation.

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