The Reverend Jacqui Foxall facilitated the workshop, Youth Ministry 101 at Canada Youth 2018. It began with some basic questions: Who are You? What is your context? and What are you hoping to learn today?
The following are some notes from the session
Over the next few hours, she talked about some of the challenges facing youth leaders and churches today:
Any system supporting youth ministry requires two basic components: architecture and atmosphere.
The Blue Print
- Vision/Mission statement
- 3-year goal
- Clear statement of values
- Control Documents (which every youth leader should have):
- Youth directory
- 12-month planning calendar
- Org chart and job descriptions for each volunteer
- Recruiting needs and lists
Concrete & Other Building Blocks
- Do you know your youth? How well do you know them?
- Do you know your values? Do you know theirs?
Wallpaper & Decorations
Everything needs to be filtered through that statement. For example, if your youth are doing something at a bazaar, ask:
- What is the goal?
- How does this activity fit into that vision/mmission statement?
Failure and success are not isolated incidents - they are part of a life cycle - a trajectory. What you need to do is recognize that your group has just about reached its peak before it actually does and before decline sets in so that you can make the decision to re-vision your ministry and start it onto a new trajectory.
Remember - re-visioning youth ministry is not the responsibility of the Youth Leader but of the whole Congregation (or their representatives - e.g., the Session).
The fact is that youth go where the numbers are. A room with nobody there is far less inviting than a room packed with friends and energy.
At the same time, we need to remember that a BIGGER youth ministry IS NOT a BETTER youth ministry.
It is important to get some numbers, but focusing too much on numbers can actually distract us from youth ministry - as the picture demonstrates.
People need to realize that it is impossible for a single individual to know "everyone" equally well. Research shows that we tend to know only 3 people well. This is why it is important to have more than one person involved in youth ministry. If you have 18 youth, then you need 6 others involved.
Remember: You are doing God's work, and God wants to support you in the ministry he has given you. Don't forget to pray - don't forget to turn to God for help.