Ten Characteristics of a Healthy Youth Ministry

This link takes you to one of the best written pieces about youth ministry I’ve read in a long time: http://kendadean.com/636/what-are-the-top-10-characteristics-of-a-healthy-youth-ministry/ “Top 10 Characteristics of a Healthy Youth Ministry”

I don’t know anything about Kenda Dean, other than she does youth ministry in S. Africa, and is blessed with some great insights.

My own “Top 10” would have been “The Top Ten Things I’d Do Dfferently in my youth groups if I could do it all over again.”

Here are some of my thoughts on that…

My #1 “Thing I’d Do Differently” would be to do much more one-on-one pastoring and “2 or 3” small group pastoring. I’d spend less time on “group” ministry.

My #2 “Thing I’d Do Differently” would be to spend less time OVERALL on youth ministry, –and more time ministering to specific adults who have come back to the church at some stage in their life.  When I look back on all my years in youth ministry, I now realize how I OVER-SPENT my staff time on youth ministry and didn’t spend enough time on ministering to individuals who were “taking a run” at the church. Sometimes that individual was a young adult, or a middle-age person, or senior who had for some reason have decided to give the church a second chance.  As I look back, I see the faces of so many who crossed my path, and I didn’t have the time to connect with them at a deeper level, because sometimes I was spending too much time on cajoling some youth who were not receptive or ready to connect.

This is not to denigrate the importance of youth ministry. Rather, it simply recognizes that we have a finite amount of time. It also recognizes that “there is a time and season” when someone is ready for faith, and ready for greater involvement in the church, and we often MISS these people when its their time because we’re over-spent on those not ready. In some cases, they were kids who floated through “youth groups past” and are now taking another run at the church years later.

If you’re focused on youth ministry this surely sounds like heresy. But looking back through my several decades of youth ministry, I realize that I came in contact with so many “second runners” that I didn’t take time for because my job description and focus didn’t understand the opportunity and importance.  I wish “Now Neil” could go back in time and talk to “Then Neil”.  But would he listen?

I’ve written some other things about youth ministry in this blog, including “Confessions of an Old Youth Minister” http://sundayresources.net/neil/2010/02/18/confessions-of-a-youth-minister/ You can see more of my thoughts on CE here at http://sundayresources.net/neil/category/christian-education-ideas-and-advice/

<>< Neil

In my software ministry, I made a fun game about the reasons why we should worship and go to church, and the excuses we use to avoid connecting! www.sundaysoftware.com/zombies


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