youth ministries [not youth group]
at the national youth workers convention, there was a course i took on rethinking youth ministry models. one question they asked was, “what if your ministry didn’t have to worry about the pressure and performance of weekly programing?” it got me thinking about how relevant our group stuff is versus having more regular time hearing about their lives, their struggles and what moves their heart.
in a conversation today with a friend, duane smith, i started to think seriously about this some more. what if instead of running youth groups, we enabled adult leaders to lead their own youth ministries based on the ideas and topics and things that move them? you don’t drop everything, but you cut back on the programing to enable the leaders to start their own ministries to students. one may revolve around social justice. another may be outdoor ministry. another reading books on life and faith. and still another doing service projects. find a leader connect them with students and a cause or a common interest.
maybe a better way to describe it would be smaller youth groups that move with the students throughout their middle and high school years. you meet all together from time to time for worship, fun or encouragement, but then the rest of the time its the leaders and students doing their thing. [EDIT: one good clarification from a comment would be that you don’t just let the smaller groups be nothing more than all outdoors or all service projects. that would not develop a more well rounded disciple of Christ. they may gravitate to those activities, but you also have their leaders stretch them into other areas of life and ministry discovering what God’s word has to say about them along the way.]
the youth pastors job becomes the coach, coordinator and taking care of the common time. the youth pastor also spends more time in the schools, sporting events and working with families. [EDIT: the youth pastor would also work to encourage the adults to be a part of these events as well. having the youth pastor at the events allows him to keep in contact with students and continue to connect them with the smaller groups they might fit best in.]
if by chance anyone reads this who is in youth ministry, give me your honest critique. this is my initial thinking, but could it work into a realistic and practical ministry plan? could it move students closer to living CHRIST?