A couple of days ago my good Canadian friend Andy Disher asked the question on Facebook: “What is Youth Ministry? What isn’t Youth Ministry?” Great question Andy! A number of us gave our responses and you can see some of them over at Andy’s blog: AndyDisher.com. In addition, you might want to check out Andy Blanks post over at YM360.com and a post by Paul Martin over at BeingMinistry.com . Great reads!
For now, I think I could be thinking and writing about this question for a couple of weeks. I don’t think I can channel all my ADD thoughts into one post. Therefore, here’s a snapshot of some of the big chunks I have written about before that I consider youth ministry to be about. Let me know what you think?
1) Jesus Centered – Without Jesus being our center for all we do, we might as well be a club. I am sure that we all say that we are Jesus centered, but let’s be honest… It only takes a short while to get back to “what we know” and depend on our methods and skills. Soon, Jesus is taking a back seat. Numbers can increase, accolades can be given, but Jesus is the only one who will bring lasting change to our students lives.
2) Student Focused – Being student focused means taking a lot of time to get into their world and listen. Again, so often, it is easy to resort back to what we know and what has worked in the past. However, I find that God moves best when I listen to the heart of my students and what God is saying through them. In many ways, it’s similar to what Rick Warren says and how we should be catching the wave of what God is doing, rather than trying to create the wave. Some of our best events, service projects, and Bible studies have been a part of, have come from students.
3) A Greenhouse for Self-Feeders – I have a series coming up in a couple of weeks to talk about this more, but for now let me say this: Unless we are helping students to learn to become self-feeders who spend time with God when they are not with us, we are missing the point. Are we helping students to develop life-long habits to help them feed on God’s love, truth, and wisdom, or are they dependent on a weekly youth group meeting? If students are consumed with our weekly meeting but are spiritually starving during the week, we have missed the point… Just my opinion of course. More to come in a couple of weeks on this…
4) Parent Partnered – Parents spend so much more time with their kids than I do. So many parents under estimate their impact on their kids too. I firmly believe that I should do all I can to make parents the hero to their kids, not me. The more that I can encourage, support, and equip parents at home, should result in greater growth and impact for our students. If I am honest, this is one component I see to lacking in so many ministries. Personally, I am not happy with how much we currently do… It is a goal of mine this year to partner with parents in greater ways…
What is Youth Ministry to you? What did I miss? There’s a whole lot, I know! For now, these are my big chunks… What are yours? Post your comments!