If you want a better youth ministry, pay attention to author John Green.
Many teenagers follow John Green closely. John Green’s book The Fault in Our Stars has been made into a movie and currently is showing in movie theatres. Many teenagers not only read John Green’s books, but they also visit his YouTube channel—and often subscribe to it.
If you know John Green, you also know he has a brother, Hank Green, and the two of them are revolutionizing an entire generation of young people. How? By listening to them. By challenging them. By being entertaining. Effective youth ministry can learn a lot from John Green.
Which subject does the church avoid most?
Especially with teenagers.
Especially with parents of teenagers.
Yet, no one is more interested in this subject than these two groups of people. People of faith want guidance about sex, and they often look to church leaders to guide them.
Which Issues Do You Think Matter Most to Youth? - Be careful this blog title is intentionally deceptive! - Jim MerhautRead Now
In too many churches, the youth director focuses only on the youth who show up for youth group. That’s the youth ministry. The youth who show up.
In most churches, however, you’ll often find youth who never attend the youth group. They attend worship services. They may be involved in other aspects of the church, but since they’re not in the youth group, they fall through the youth-ministry crack.
A strong youth ministry cares for all youth—those involved in the church youth ministry and those who never show up.
I get asked questions at least once a month about Confirmation. What program should I use? What videos are the best? How can I keep the kids interested? How long should it be? How long does it have to be? Can we do a confirmation class with adults and youth together? How big or small should the class be? How old should the person be to be confirmed? How do we help people decide if they are ready to be confirmed? How do we honor what the youth decide? How do we involve mentors? How do we involve the parents?
Many people today are yearning for quiet time, or time to be still, or time for themselves without interruptions. Life today is full. Full of study, work, friends, family, play, technology, etc. We have cars and bikes that get us places more quickly, we have technology that helps us get things done more quickly, we have fast food, and instant gratification. It is all more than we can truly take.
It is no secret, that in youth ministry (as in most ministry) connection, relationship, and communication are key elements to a good, healthy ministry. When we are connected to one another, we can more closely know one another and understand one another. There are many wonderful books written about this such as Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry by Andrew Root or The Godbearing Life by Kenda Creasy Dean and Ron Foster.
I have been doing lots of thinking and wondering about what those of us doing formation in churches can learn from school teachers, practitioners, and educators. In searching the web for information that might help us discover new ways to form our people in the faith, I came across this article (http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/8061) on essential skills for children and youth, based on the “C’s” of education. The “C’s” of education vary depending on which list you turn to, but the most comprehensive list is Communication, Connection, Collaboration/Cooperation, Creation/Contribution, Community, Continual Learning, and Culture. If we think about how we can incorporate these into our life of faith and our learning, I think we could go a long way toward a more holistic approach to learning.
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