Posts Tagged ‘ Ministry Assessment ’

Participatory Faith………………………..Anita Smallin

Earlier this week, I was reminded of an article I read about the Facebook Generation.  In this article Gary Hamel lists 12 ideas that the Facebook Generation has towards the world.  (For the full article: It’s an interesting list to think about when we talk about youth ministry.  As I have been thinking this week, the idea of “Leaders serve rather than preside” keeps coming back to me.  All leaders need to be servant leaders.  Hamil says: “If we forget this, we may lose our followers.”

So what does this mean for youth ministry? I’d say he’s affirming what we know.  The EYM Study affirmed that youth leaders, mentors and parents are to model an honest and vibrant faith.  As the Facebook generation is participatory, we are to model a participatory faith, not a passive faith.  And what is that participatory faith?  It’s the faith of the empty nester who serves as a Sunday School teacher, the leaders of our soup kitchens, the folks who stick around after church and have genuine conversations with the lost in our midst.  Our leaders need to be active in living out their faith, not congregational wall flowers.  The whole church needs to show and model that participation in all aspects of our life, from worship to service to prayer; from our offering to our actions.  Our whole church community plays a role in modeling faith.

Anita Smallin is a youth leader in Baltimore, MD, and is fascinated by social media.  She’s training to run her first 5K this spring.


The Dangers of the EYM: Fad, Fiction, or Future?…………………Jerry Watts

I was talking to a friend this week who wondered if all the hype about Exemplary Youth Ministry wasn’t just that.  He was not discounting all the good stuff we’ve been blogging about but he did wonder if we were just moving on to the next new thing, the latest fad, the buzz in youth ministry these days.  He wondered if we remembered that discipleship based on faith markers or what the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit has already been around for a long time.  He’s got a good point.

And that is just the point.  The Exemplary Youth Ministry study found that these  121 congregations had been able to either create a youth ministry of discipleship or to use programs that focus ministry entirely on discipleship.  So much of youth ministry in the last thirty years has been developed around attraction, rather than fruit.

In our weakness we might even use the EYM study as an excuse for why our ministries are failing instead of a measuring stick to help us be transformed.If we regulate the Exemplary youth ministry study to the latest trend in ministry then we forget the power of the Spirit who forms faith and the Scriptures which give us our ultimate list or markers to be accountable to.  That’s really not new at all, is it?

Jerry Watts is a seventeen year youth ministry veteran. He currently serves in Plano Texas.

There They Are–Identifying Your EYM Advocates….………Tim Coltvet

Here is another youth ministry reality.  The decades-plus ministers among us have a tendency to be harsh critics of our immediate surroundings and, in effect, overlook the amazing people, resources, and work of the Spirit moving in our communities and lives on a regular basis.

Beyond the actual study results themselves, there is this terrific Asset assessment tool available on the EYM web site, It is a truly positive way of looking at your current community and discovering once again (or maybe for the first time) all of the things that are going right!

And there, buried in the focus on and computing of assets are often hidden narratives that tell the story of faces and relationships that are adding up to make a difference in the faith formation in the lives of the young people of your church.  I challenge you to think of and begin to do the important work of identifying faces from your congregation who aptly represent these significant assets.  As you do, you will begin to discover who your greatest EYM advocates are. They may or may not be currently volunteering in your ministry.  But invite them into this conversation, knowing that they will be greatly affirmed, will likely encourage others, and will help you advance the work of creating, as the study says, a “culture of the Spirit.”

Rev. Tim Coltvet starting cutting his teeth in youth ministry about fifteen years ago.  He currently coordinates contextual learning and coaching at Luther Seminary’s Center for Children Youth, and Family Ministry.