While I played host for a series of youth leader seminars at this year’s Kingdom Bound festival I also found myself being personally engaged and challenged. In the first seminar Joyce Wagner, owner and primary therapist of Restoration Counseling, spoke about how to avert suicide by properly assessing the warning signs and intervening on behalf of suicidal individuals. Then, Denis Johnson, Jr., pastor of creative arts, music and teaching at The Father’s House, led a conversation around the “selfie” phenomenon and what this obsessive trend tells us about ourselves and our view of God. And finally, Jay Trainer, founder of Infuzion, unpacked the three I’s of youth ministry—image, intimacy, identity—and challenged us to consider how our ministry goals can be shaped by these three cultural influences and keep us from pursuing life-giving relationships with God and one another.
Recently, I took our church’s teens on our annual amusement park trip—a cornerstone event in all of my youth ministries. I have to admit it though, I do not like amusement parks. Now, I do like aspects of the park, but the reason most people are there is what I do not like. Nothing about roller coasters excites me. I do not like rides that offer a slow incline only to drop participants almost straight down with the encouragement to lift hands in the air while screaming. I do not enjoy corkscrew turns, riding upside down, or rides that take a person to the highest heights just to drop them from those heights in a matter of seconds. How was this ever dubbed as amusement?
When coaches develop a team, they want to create chemistry—by finding the naïve genius (talent and intelligence) of the players and by knowing each player well so that each one can function optimally in the execution of the play book.
A guest post by Doug Milne (M.Div. '10, Northeastern Seminary)
A guest post by Larry Petry, M.Div. student, youth pastor, Gerry Free Methodist Church, Gerry, NY
There’s a thought among some church leaders that a majority of teens leave the church after they go off to college. Some believe this decline in attendance stems from a desire to go deeper and be real about life and faith, a desire that is not being met in church. Rachel Held Evans recently addressed this topic, expressing that “what millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance” (CNN Belief Blog). Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at different ways youth leaders can go deeper in their youth ministry.