What is the Purpose of Youth Ministry?
I recently had the opportunity to go to the National Youth Workers Convention where the head of Youth Specialties, Mark Matlock, identified five things he thinks Youth Ministry is doing for the Church today. I shared some of these during my presentation at our Diocesan Convention. It strikes me that these are all things that are done, no matter the size of your congregation.
Youth ministry is vital to helping teens integrate into the larger, intergenerational community of the church.
Youth ministry resists the status quo, helping the church stay relevant.
Youth ministry focuses on inviting those who are not already part of the church into the deeper narrative of God’s plan.
Youth ministry reminds the church that teens are not marginalized members of the body, but co-creators and conspirators in the divine work of the church.
Youth ministry helps the church focus on the way of Jesus, which goes
beyond tradition, dogma, and work.
Events and programs in the Church should be designed for youth to experience opportunities in Evangelism, Spiritual Formation, Christian Leadership, Mission, Fellowship, Scripture and the Episcopal Church.
Youth events in the Church should strive to provide:
a safe, loving, and wholesome atmosphere for young people
a program which helps young people become formed in their faith
a variety of worship experiences that help young people connect with God and one another
teaching about the Anglican expression of Christianity
a means for young people to develop their individual prayer and spiritual life
assistance for young people in developing values, ethical norms, and a sense of Christian community
interaction with adults who authentically model the Christian faith
activities (games, sports, waterfront activities, crafts, etc.) which involve fun and the building of sense of worth
My hope is that we are raising young people who are committed to Christ, committed to the Episcopal Church, and have the Christian Leadership experience to make a difference.
Today we welcome Karen Schlabach as guest blogger. Karen is the Youth Missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. She has served in both volunteer and paid positions for parish youth ministries and diocesan youth ministries for eight years. Prior to that she worked in higher education and now has a passion for improving students’ transition from youth to campus ministries. This letter originally appeared in Karen’s Youth Ministry newsletter.