3 Powerful Words for Ministry with Youth

Have you ever asked a teenager a question and received a yes or no answer?  Have you ever asked a string of open ended questions and received a few words or a short sentence in response to each?  Have you ever felt like at a certain age the ability for youth to speak openly and freely comes to an abrupt halt? A Different Question Brad M. Griffin, Director of the Fuller Youth Institute, wrote an in-depth article about a relatively simple yet incredibly powerful approach to extending, Read More …

Favoring Youth Over the Elderly?

American Christianity has long been a graying religion.  American Mainline Protestantism serves as an example of a group with a median age that significantly exceeds the median age in America.  Given this data, one might assume that local congregations tend to employ more specialized ministers and program staff focused on mature/senior adults than on teens/youth.  In reality, however, far more people serve in youth ministry roles. Tony Campolo, professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern Read More …

Youth Min: Exit Interviews

Every congregation I have served has recognized students when they graduate from high school.  In most cases this recognition has included both formal recognition in a Sunday morning worship service (or services) along with a more personalized celebration in the context of youth ministry.  As these new graduates prepare to transition from the youth ministry (those devised for students in middle school and high school) into a college or young adult ministry, youth ministry leaders should consider Read More …

The Best Youth Ministry Game

Tim Schmoyer, founder of Life In Student Ministry, recently asked people to submit their favorite youth ministry game.  From that list, he selected four: Cell Phone Pic Scategory Q-Tip Wars Fat Santa Shuffle Your Buns (If you are not familiar with one or more of these games, be sure to check out his post for explanations and illustrations.) So What? Every youth group has a few go to games that are always lots of fun.  While I have been fortunate enough to be involved with a Read More …

High School Ministry – Defining Success

Lutheran (ELCA) pastor Rich Melheim is the founder and chief creative officer of Faith Inkubators, which he describes as "a Christian education systems design think tank and resource provider dedicated to incubating faith every night in every home."  In the February 22, 2012 edition of the Christian Century, he answered several questions regarding faith formation as a family matter, including one about high school youth ministry. Q: How do you define a successful church program for high Read More …

Single Objective of Youth Ministry

How would you complete the following sentence: The single objective of youth ministry is __________. Youth ministry expert Mark Oestreicher answered the question with Christlikeness.   So What? Youth ministry is typically thought of in terms of what it offers its participants, especially in terms of programs and relationships.  Youth ministry leadership teams would benefit greatly from taking time to explore together why they do what they do.  The simple yet challenging question Read More …

Attributes of Good Junior High Lessons

Kurt Johnston is a junior high ministry expert; he has severed in a variety of junior high youth ministry roles for over twenty years, and currently serves as Junior High Pastor at Saddleback Church.  Earlier this week he shared three attributes of a good junior high lesson: Short (20 minutes or less) Interactive Fun So What? I have spent enough time in youth ministry with junior high/middle school students to understand that teaching this age group is unique.  This is one of many Read More …

Social Media Interaction with Students

Earlier this week Slant33, a part of Barefoot Ministries, posted the responses of three youth ministry experts to the question: "Where do you draw the line on social media interaction with students? Why?"  The responses vary widely: D. Scott Miller, director of the Division of Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, has a personal policy to never friend anyone under the age of eighteen on Facebook.  Additionally, he believes this is the best policy for all Read More …

Halloween at the Hell House

Brian Kirk's recent article, "Christian Haunted Houses: Scaring the 'Hell' Out of Teens?," caught my attention for several reasons, including: fear based evangelism targeting teens remains a tactic used by fundamentalist Christians hell houses or evangelistic productions staged to "convert" teens and "save" them from hell are an extreme form deployed each year at Halloween I have been to the Hell House at Trinity Church (Assemblies of God) in Cedar Hill, TX (the "original" upon which so Read More …

Top 10 Characteristics of a Healthy Youth Ministry

Kenda Creasy Dean, an ordained United Methodist pastor and Professor of Youth, Church and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary, recently blogged about the characteristics of a healthy youth ministry.  Her Top 10 list: Jesus Lots and lots of parents who are growing in, and living out, their love of God and neighbor (and who are aware that this matters to their kids) A senior pastor who is crazy about young people A supportive congregation where people actively seek God and that Read More …