The church faces the same issue as many public schools: Who helps with the homework when the student goes home? How much of it gets lost or forgotten by the next day of school because there is no reinforcement within the family? The challenge for youth ministry is to consider how we equip the “home” (however it may be defined) to reinforce spiritual formation.
We define “home” in this context as the place of primary care for a youth—the place where they receive the basic necessities such as shelter, food, and protection. We do not automatically make the assumption that all youth have a home or family where spiritual formation can or will happen. Therefore, it may be the role of the youth worker to advocate for some kind of “family” for all youth, such as an adopted family of adults in the church who covenant to care for a teen whose parents may not be connected to the faith. Even in situations where a young person does have a supportive family, the youth worker may face the challenge of parents who are intimidated at the thought of providing spiritual formation for their youth. For parents who feel ill-equipped in this area how, do we coach them to be able to guide their own children (and how well can this work when youth ministers themselves are often emerging adults who are not parents)?
Training and Education:
Resources that exist:
CYMT is proud to announce the expansion of our original initiative into Theology Together 2.0. CYMT aims to develop a curriculum to be used in local congregations and ministries. Taking what we have learned about engaging youth in deep theological reflection during missional experiences and embedding those processes into congregational youth ministries.
"I hope students come away from my courses with the ability to think more deeply, richly and theologically about their youth ministry practice. I think a lot of what happens in youth ministry happens unreflectively and can be deforming to young people, and my courses are intended to give students a theological framework for evaluating and reforming their youth ministry practice."
Of course, I want students to drink deeply from the academic readings, lectures and discussions, and I want them to be informed by the academics. But more than that, I want them to see that youth ministry is a calling of God, an important part of God’s mission in the world, one that should give them pride and evoke humility at the same time.