Posts Tagged ‘ Youth Minister ’

Uses Many Approaches……………………….Nancy Going

What is unique about the life of people in the place where you live?  What are the distinctive ministry needs where church and youth and youth ministry can and should dig in?

That question grows out of one of the key learnings from the Exemplary Youth ministry study.   Asset  38:  “Uses Many Approaches: intentionally, creatively employs multiple activities appropriate to the ministry’s mission and context.”

This asset means that in a church in rural Nebraska, the high school students regularly put on the VBS for smaller children.  The reality is that if they had not organized and made it happen, their church would not have had a VBS.  The faith of those high school students grew measurably in the process.

In suburban Dallas, a youth ministry that engages parents in multiple significant ways, providing both parental support, and utilizing lots of  parental volunteers in the ministry helped both youth and parents connect to their faith and to the ministry of the larger church.

Instead of thinking that their program should look a certain way because of that program’s success at another church, these churches looked at and identified what the needs are in their church and community, and structured their ministry around those needs.

Gather some people who can help you see, if you need it.  Imagine where this asset could take you………

Dr. Nancy Going is a 20 some year veteran of congregational youth ministry.  She coordinates the Distributed (distance) youth ministry students at Luther Seminary.  She did her PhD research by interviewing adolescents from the Exemplar congregations.

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Staying the Course………………..Tom Schwolert

Aside from the pure grace of God, there are two main reasons that I have survived in youth ministry.  These reasons are people, people who love me and people who love youth ministry.  I believe that in order to “stay the course” in youth ministry, you have to have these two groups of people in your life.  You can’t do youth ministry in isolation.  I regularly gather with other youth ministry friends so that we can support each other.  This is essential for survival.  I also develop a team of people who really have a passion for young people to know God.  Both of these groups of people not only create a supportive environment but they are also great people with whom to share ideas and dreams.  I just had lunch with eight other youth ministers, and we looked over the nine faith outcomes from the EYM study together.  We talked about which outcomes we are most passionate about and where we are challenged.  It was one of the richest conversations about youth ministry that I have had in a while.  I left encouraged and inspired.  Two ideas that can help “stay the course” are to talk about the results of the study with your peers and also talk about the results with your youth ministry team in your congregation.  Gathering a number of people around a common vision can be a powerful way to “stay the course.”

Tom Schwolert is Director of Youth & Family Ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Flower Mound, TX.  He has been doing full time youth ministry for 22 years and is the author of “Full Circle: Triple A Training.”