When I think about my ministry, one of my goals is to leave a legacy of youth ministry. In addition to seeking to teach youth that they are beloved Children of God, redeemed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and called to serve God by the power of the Holy Spirit in this world, I want to pass on the vocation of youth ministry to the next generation.
Legacy: something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past
Healthy churches and youth ministries produce young people who have identified a call to ministry. Because vocational call is such a part of my understanding of ministry, my ministry has always placed an emphasis on helping young people identify their call. I recently celebrated 20 years in professional ministry. In those 20 years, I have watched 20 young people go into professional ministry. Most of them have gone into youth ministry themselves. Some of them are ordained and some of them are in the ordination process. Many of them will serve the church as a lay person their whole career.
They are my ministry family tree. I have continued to invest in their lives and support them in ministry. They encourage me as I encourage them. I occasionally get emails in which they share that they caught themselves saying something just like I would. I always hope that it is something good. Below is a video of CYMT graduate resident Carlisle Jones who was one of my youth sharing her story and the beginning of her own legacy.
CYMT is beginning to see its legacy passed to the next generation of youth ministers. We have now graduated 40 youth ministers from our program. Maria Ghianni is serving at Carthage FUMC, and she was a youth in Kris Lott’s youth ministry at Calvary UMC. Kris graduated from CYMT in 2008. We have an applicant this year who is from another graduate’s youth ministry.
One measurement of the impact that the CYMT program has on the Kingdom is the number of teenagers who participate in CYMT partner churches’ ministries. Our exponential impact projects that we will touch nearly 30,000 lives by 2025. But in addition to this impact, we will leave a legacy of youth ministry. How many youth ministers and ministers will be a part of the CYMT legacy? We don’t know, but great youth ministries produce great youth ministers. We are just at the beginning of seeing the fruits of our CYMT family tree, but I can’t wait to watch it flourish.
We are hearing from numerous youth ministers that during this season their plate is just too full. Caring for others is a ministry staple, but often it comes at the expense of caring for oneself. Self care for the Youth MInister is so important. If you don’t take time for yourself and your own relationship with God, not only will you suffer, but eventually your students will too.
We’ve created a Pandemic Youth Week curriculum bundle that combines elements of both a summer camp and a youth week. Many youth are missing out on both of these due to cancelled camps and trips among other cancelled important events your youth would usually attend. We’ve written this curriculum such that it can be used in person while socially distancing, online, or some combination of both.
Despite all the challenges the pandemic has presented to youth ministries, it has also created an opportunity to allow youth more involvement in worship. Although youth sunday will look very different this year, it is a great opportunity to empower our youth to be leaders. Youth’s comfort and familiarity with technology make them a great resource for churches who are seeking to move their worship services online for the first time.