PDF 50 Core Principles of Youth Ministry

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Our ministry must begin from the inside and work outward. Ask yourself, your leaders, students and parents these penetrating questions, then act on them:. Do you have impure thoughts toward the opposite sex? See 2 Tim. Do you gripe, complain or have a critical attitude? See Phil. Do you respect and honor your parents and family? See Eph. Is bitterness or resentment keeping you from forgiving another person?

See Matt. Have you treated another person wrongly? Do you lie, steal or cheat? See Col. Is Jesus first in every area of your life? For your youth ministry: Following Jesus' instruction in Matthew , create an environment of praying with passion in your youth ministry. Invite two other adult leaders to pray in a "prayer triplet" for students in your ministry. Then, equip and mobilize your adult leaders and students to pray in prayer triplets.

Pursue this simple plan: Three Christians, three times a week, praying for three non-Christian friends. Leadership is influence. In John , Jesus made three requests of His Father that would lead His disciples to become influencers. He asked that they 1 commit to Christ, 2 commit to one another, and 3 commit to a ministry to the world. For three years, He taught them to lead--to do what He did--preach the good news, bind up the brokenhearted and proclaim freedom to the captives see Luke and Mark Imagine an adult leadership team of parents, volunteers and college students praying, growing in intimacy with Jesus and investing their lives in teenagers.

Imagine them equipped to preach the good news to students, heal their wounds and free them from Satan's addictions. For your youth ministry: Begin an adult leadership team. God has called people in your church to youth ministry. Ask them to join you. When you begin, focus on your personal walk with Christ, your vision for your students and developing the needed skills to reach and disciple students. For three years, Jesus discipled His 12 followers in a process that included selecting, relating, challenging, investing, loving, delegating, praying and reproducing His life in them.

So, if Jesus discipled people, then why don't we? We conduct classes, seminars, conferences, retreats and programs, but there is a desperate need for one person to disciple a small band of believers. If we don't do what Jesus did, we should not be surprised by the condition of the church.

The goal of discipleship is to take youth from superficial, immature churchgoers to students who experience life-change and are equipped to become life-changers. Then, they will radically touch their world for Jesus! For your youth ministry: Disciple small groups of students like Jesus did. Offer your students a relational experience with discipline, accountability and encouragement, and it will result in motivation, growth, action and ministry. If you take the effort to disciple your leadership team they will in turn disciple students.

This is the key to ministry multiplication. The ultimate expression of penetrating culture was when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us see John Nowhere is Jesus more proactive and intentional than when pursuing relationships with "sinners. What Jesus did, He sends His disciples to do. He stated clearly and repeatedly: "Go! Eighty-eight percent of all students in America do not know Jesus.

This should compel us to move beyond the four walls of the church to penetrate the student culture. For your youth ministry: Go to the sidewalk outside of a campus near you. As you watch the students, ask yourself, How many of these people know Jesus personally? Once God burdens your heart for students, then ask yourself, What steps do I need to take to bring Jesus to this campus? You can't imagine what God has in store for you! Our challenge is to present Jesus to students as clearly, relevantly and accurately as He presented Himself. The master Teacher has shown us how to do this see John First, Jesus is the focus of attention see Mark Second, some people are for Him and some are against Him see Mark Third, students bring nonbelieving friends to meet Jesus see Luke Fourth, lives are changed forever see Matt.

For your youth ministry: Once the above principles function in your youth ministry, create an event with no hype. Then as your leadership team and discipled students to invite nonbelieving friends for whom they have prayed and to whom they have communicated Jesus. From Russia to Australia to Cuba and throughout the United States in youth groups with four students to 1, students, churches have implemented the concept of a Jesus-focused youth ministry. It works because it is what Jesus did. When you actively pursue this model, your youth ministry will no longer be like plowing concrete.

Rather, it will sow seed in fertile soil and produce much more fruit than you ever imagined! On the other I though i knew enough to be able to get my way through an afternoon session after a fairly interactive morning. So, although i got some good feedback. I still felt a little raw. A friend who was in the room met up with me for a coffee a few weeks later.

In debriefing the session they asked me whether I had considered how much of an introvert I was. Saying that they had only seen me in other situations, but when they saw me in that public space, that they identified me as being more introverted. I kind of pushed back. An introvert.?

That was for quiet people. I was a youthworker, I loved conversations, i loved making myself known, i loved people. But i wasnt , and still am not, one of the crazy types. Have always been perceptive, reflective and prefer the significant conversation.. In the kitchen, rather than the party. But I pushed back, also because well, it didnt really register for me what that might mean, or help, and if it did I only thought negatively, so i didnt give it any more thought. Ministry, youthwork was for the lively, or at least that was one space that being an introvert wasnt the place to be that in.

I thought i knew who I was, even had the audacity to publish blogs on self care for others, even try and talk about stuff like boundaries, self care and management with others. She asked me whether I had done anything about being introvert. I fessed up. Keeping up with all youthwork theory and being articulate in the knowledge stuff i really had.

Of course. Because she knew I was an introvert, the best thing to give an introvert is a book on being one. Cover to cover beginning to open my eyes to look at myself. Cover to cover being ready to accept the reality of who I am. But also… Cover to cover and recognise my own strengths, my own gifts, and my own power. To realise my place in the world and who I am to be able to construct and change it.

Before digging wide and providing practical reflection on what being introvert might mean in the world of youth and community work, management and leadership. In a way I wanted just to share with you from me, about me and how this self discovery has been helpful. In more ways that just work. The book helped me dispel the myths, and erradicate my own fears of what being introvert was all about, it helped me to view the changing world around and how the path of extroversion is heralded and prioritised.

To a point. I have more to learn and dig. I have more to gain by doing so. But ignoring the me and the me when dealing with the difficult stuff was negligent on my part. Self care is one thing… becoming self aware another. Maybe we can only truly care for ourselves when we know ourselves.

Is Youth Ministry a Failure?

Maybe I had to be ready to hear my friend. To be ready to undertake personal reflection, and for that I am thankful for the circumstances that brought me to that point.. I bought the book. But I will do.


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The start of a process, started from whatever age or point.. No one is born fully-formed: it is through self-experience in the world that we become what we are. Paulo friere.


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Much better. If you want to hear more, and just read a book on this. Youth ministry is only effective when it is in response to local needs guided by local convictions in the hands of young people. When community convictions and concerns, financial and leadership resources, theological and moral values when tied to ministry vision and passion, shape strategies for reaching young people.

Master of Youth Ministry Briercrest Seminary

I bet you thought I wrote this. That these are my words. I bet , probably aside from the reaching young people comment, that you thought that I have found another youth work book that fits a ground-up, community development approach to youth work, a community view of ministry. Criticising the generalised view of youth ministry, cultural assumptions and may be the macdonaldisatuon of youth ministry programmes, resources and faith. Staying that. All youth ministry is local. Or affect the practice of youth ministry much. Beyond needs to gifts. Beyond programmes to participation.

And what does local youth ministry look like… well it looks like conversations, group work and developing and emerging from what you have. All youth ministry really is local. So look for the beauty, possibility and spirituality in the young people you have. And in the church this looks like:. Our new youthworker must be excited and innovative always thinking of the new. We cant be doing the same songs, we must do new ones every now and then!

Young people wont be interested in coming to sunday church, they must have their own meetings. And, some of this also plays out in worship songs, using screens, countdowns and smoke machines, even in an avoidance of reading the bible or meetings these are deemed boring. Judging from his passionate excitement, the professor believed the young mans commitment, so they talked about faith and the bible. When the topic of sunday worship came up, the young man explained that he rarely went, telling the professor that it had none of the adrenaline of the workouts, that ultimately Sunday worship was just too boring.

The point that the scholar would try and make from this is that is the importance of co-orporate worship. The inconsistency of boredom vs commitment. Therefore to be bored in an age of authenticity is not simply unfortunate or unpleasant it is to be oppressed and got rid of. It is as if they have somehow lost what they are meant to be. There are two issues here, and Im not sure even I can do both justice in the remainder of this piece. So, i will focus on the first of the two. Boredom might mean actually not being involved.

Boredom might mean that it is too simple. Boredom might mean that it is not challenging enough. Not that it isnt loud enough. Boredom might mean that it isnt real, or authentic enough. And what might make church authentic… authentic relationships, authentic involvement, authentic respect and faith formation, authentic opportunity to make decisions. Whats strangely interesting is that the churches that have fared better over the last 50 years are those which retained something of the youth movement of 50 years ago.

Possessing the spirit of youthfulness is equated to authentic, because being and staying young is exactly that.

Exploring Growing Young?

In and amongst this is a pretty non existent space for what church is or isnt actually meant to be about. But is that to be the case today? The possibility of divine action is somewhat minimised for the sake of authenticity, faith is not connected to divine action but meeting in an authentic way. In short, is God more present when im not bored..? The task is not to cave into church being more entertaining, for this will, or has already caused significant problems, where faith formation has almost completely been abandoned for youthfulness.

The challenge is to try and develop opportunities for ministry and gifting, usefulness and meaningfulness, not just a bigger brighter, louder, more colourful experience. If young people want that, they can get it at a coldplay concert. And that might be more authentic. For a coldplay concert does exactly what it says on the tin. It will take a huge amount of effort to stand up in a culture that prioritised youthfulness as authentic to say hang on, lets do something meaningful, real and faithful. That might take guts to do, yet the hamster wheel of continual youthfulness is only going to have one winner.

And it not faith formation, or long term discipleship. It is not experience of God, not the kingdom experiences of generosity, giftedness, gratitude and rest that permeate in church and discipleship, and ministry of the kingdom Root, p Making church less boring again, may well be a legitimate question. The response to it is one that will shape church for the next 50 years. Yet strategy will kill essence Mather , so we might as well get on and do the work of the kingdom, that looks like the ministry of God in the world.

Being authentically inauthentic in a world of youthfulness. Do the essence of God. Oh… and making church meaningful, hopeful and dangerous. A sub cultural movement of justice seekers called by God towards peace and reconciliation, generosity and gratitude. Now — who might find that boring..? I read with interest that Tim Gough, from the award winning youthwork hacks blog has listed his 11 most essential youth ministry books, from a collection of in his study.

The list is here, 11 essential youth ministry books. Theres at lest 5 of the 11 that are from American writers, though i confess a number i am not sure of. But the american influence is there. What is equally as real to say is that are British based youth ministry writers, researchers and students, prophets without honour, in our own homeland? Though Tim mentions Pete ward and almost writes off his incarnational approach which cannot be out of place, as it is theologically grounded, yet has Ashton and Moon in there… wow, but Tim and I already know we disagree on ashton and moon..


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However, It might be easy to say that American Christianity has influenced youth ministry in the UK, by too far, and by too far, i mean that Doug Fields gets a mention in this list, what is of more concern, is that in a list of , no titles written by women make the short list of It could be argued that youth ministry titles written by women dont make the grade in academia — but then academia discounts much of the male written stuff including Doug fields too. It could be argued that women writers arent given the publishing opportunities, or time, or encouraged to write. It could be argued that the popular books are written by male writers, because they manage to create a machine our of their ministry and can then sell them.

So thats a really great state of play. Written in Whilst great strides have been made to balance out the speakers and seminar leaders in conferences in the UK, thanks to the work of project 3;28, and where in the UK, youth ministry has been, possibly, influenced by youth work, which has tried to encourage equality, and anti-oppressive practice. But what about the leaders of UK youth ministry organisations, male or female?

But if books, and blogs, and writing still has some influence, then much of this is clearly still very much male orientated. And i know it. I know it, because I have few female youth ministry titles on my bookshelf and yet i quote Kerry Young, Joan Tash, Jocelyn Bryan and Naomi Thompson, alot — but they tend to be from a youth work perspective, rather than what i would say is youth ministry.

I confess. Yet, put it this way, if as many books on our bookshelves were written by UK females, as they are US males, then the shape of UK youth ministry may look far different. It may look like it was birthed from a UK context with a different perspective, not american mega church evangelicalism and a context so wildly different from the UK, it isnt almost worth bothering with. We have to be, were dealing with post christendom, and have been for ages.

But if UK youth ministry also revered its female writers, contributors, as much as it revers and looks across the pond at its male ones, then, this has to make a difference. It could be that I am having a pop at Tim, and im trying not to, what his list reveals is the ongoing influence of a male american youth ministry perspective that still pervades, and is popular. When there are many thoughtful, reflective, articulate female youth ministers in the UK whose voice and words and ministry needs to be as well received, regarded and be shaping the dying fragments of youth ministry in the next 50 years.

I cant write any more on this subject. Its not my voice that needs to be heard. If only there were lots of books to read that congregations and churches could read to help them think through the pressing issue of trying to attract, trying to keep, and trying to disciple young people in churches. If only there were just so many, that there would be an exhaustion of so many to choose from.

But faced with the task, no, faced with the pressing need of trying to make church, discipleship and faith real for young people — where do churches and congregations turn? Well, its not books.

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It is not the youthworkers of the past who have written up their experiences, shared their story and reflected it in way that makes it accessible for others. And, without having an hankering for thinking and theory — what do current practices rely on? Well, i wish I was surprised. Im just a bit disappointed. I thought churches cared about young people, i really wish, the desire to connect with young people, and understand their world was really like. At least try. At least engage with actual research. Published , verified research by one of the UKs leading statisticians on church numbers and data.

Are churches bypassing books to read up themselves and just employing someone to get their knowledge? It was in their youth ministry and childrens ministry section, yes it is a title from But why was it given to me free? Statistics and reflections from one of the UKs leading statisticians on churches and church growth.

And im not saying general research is everything, on these pages you will know that i have issues about such general research and making generalisations. But at the same time, what might it say that this kind of book hasnt featured in any thinking about youth ministry, childrens ministry in the north east for over 12 years. Maybe it also says something about how many people know about the fabulous religious resources centre , and please do register, connect and make use of the fabulous resources.

And the books. Almost free, with an annual fee to join…. So, when youth work books are being given away for lack of use, what is going on? What priority does youth work actually have? And who might actually be prepared to graft, to read, to think about it, before embarking on the long term journey of it.. Books may be out of fashion, but come on, leaving them unused, unread and not part of the process of developing youth ministry practice… really? Im not shocked, just a bit disappointed. When a resource this good has been laying dormant. What a waste.

As many times more have I heard that getting young people into church is the only answer to solving their problems. Or is church still set in Victorian ways.. Own that this is how they actually feel about young people. Own that they are scared and frightened of young people, and where these feeling originate. Own it and be honest. Own it and challenge i.

Own it and be collectively self aware. Or what we actually mean, but try and hide it. We have to own it. Those feral young people are creative, determined, passionate and resourceful, and God is provoking us through them. They are the visionaries a dying church needs. And I hope it is in my lifetime and I am able to play a part in it happening. Not for the first time I find myself pondering a football and faith crossover piece. In the past I have written about a youth worker transfer deadline day, and also thinking about the theatre of football as a performance.

It has long been recognised then that an away team especially after long distance travel is at a disadvantage. Further details of this can be found here BBC article. For this reason, where a two game the is level on goals, any away goals scored by either team count as double. Their value is worth more. It crosses my mind that a similar weighting or value might be useful in thinking about church attendance, growth and mission statistics and success. And almost no effort might be made to find, work with or accommodate them, except being welcoming and hospitable.

The same 5 might be said for the family who start attending who have become known to the church via the foodbank. And whilst the same hospitality is recognised and evident, the effort and investment required might be more intensive. If young people are really anti church and a youth worker has been employed- do the 5 young people who start attending chug h, also going as 5? We may have real incentive as churches to do mission, youth work and community work in our churches, parishes and deaneries.

But if homeless people from hartlepool are made to feel welcome and attend because of years of effort changing a culture in a church to be more inclusive.. It would almost be change in culture to intentionally advocate mission to and with the leastest in society. Just a thought..

If at all? But maybe not on the same measures of middle class suburbia who shape policy and expectation.. What might a good church look like, rather than a successful one, of a faithfully loving one in such a community.