I gave some input at a local gathering about some “basics” for a 21st century approach to congregational youth ministry. This list is by no means exhaustive by any means. Please feel free to email me with any feedback.
- Youth ministry is the sum of all the interactions of a congregation with its young people and between its young people in the name of Christ. It may include a youth group, but is much more than that e.g. participation of young people in worship, in leadership, in service, in witness.
- Youth ministry is the responsibility and work of the whole congregation. It is too important to be left to a few youth or young adults to “make happen” for themselves.
- Youth ministry can take many different forms, gathered and non-gathered e.g. small groups, mentoring, service projects, mission trips, camping, outdoor adventures.
- A key goal of youth ministry is to place as many caring adult Christians in the lives of young people as possible.
- The purpose of youth ministry is not entertainment but helping young people grow as disciples of Jesus in a caring environment. It can and should be fun, but fun is not the goal.
- Parents are key people in youth ministry. What takes place in the home is vital for the faith formation of young people. Christian parents have a role in advocating for and supporting their congregation’s ministry to and with young people. Their congregations have a calling to resource and support them for their ministry as parents.
- Youth ministry is not about doing things to or for young people, but with them. It invites young people into ministry that allows them to use their God-given talents and gifts, and takes account of their faith expressions. A key goal of youth ministry should be youth in ministry.
- Effective youth ministry may require that a congregation “clear space” for youth to express their faith in ways that are meaningful and relevant for them.