Watch this video while thinking about the question – how is training fleas similar to how we do youth ministry in the church? Training Fleas
Yesterday, I looked at the Drivers License Myth and Flatline Youth Ministries. Today, I want to continue the conversation. When Kenda Creasy Dean first introduced me to this video I was terrified. How is training fleas like how many churches do youth ministry? We set the bar of faith so low that adults and young people alike don’t know how to “escape the circus.” The most frighting part of the video to me is that when the “fleas” have offspring they will conform to the same limitations as their parents. Brain Kirk at Rethinking Youth Ministry commented on this in yesterday’s post that he wonders if the lid keeps not only kids from growing but the adults in our congregation from growing as well.
Are we guilty of low lid youth ministries? I know I was. Intentional discipleship is the process I developed to help youth understand that faith and discipleship are life long processes.
What is Intentional Discipleship?
Intentional discipleship is a call to develop youth ministries that provide programs that help young people continue down the discipleship path. By identifying the key stages and catalysts of the discipleship journey, intentional discipleship provides a map for young people to use to navigate where they are on their spiritual journey and provide the tools to help them travel. When CYMT works with churches, we help them develop a metaphor to help them understand the process of discipleship. Finally, Intentional discipleship helps youth workers develop a systematic programming approach that meets the needs of each stage of discipleship development encouraging growth in their students.
There are some important disclaimers. An intentional discipleship plan does not create a discipleship factory.
Who, What, and Where is the Key
To get started we must decide the who, what, and where of youth ministry programming.
Who – who is attending our programs? I know you know their names, but have you thought about where they are on their discipleship journey. Is Johnny a committed disciple, growing in his faith, or just getting started. Only students and God truly know where their are, but our knowledge of their outward expression of their faith should give us some real insights.
What – what is the purpose of our program? What stage of a young person’s spiritual development is it intentionally trying to reach? Yesterday, I asked if your programs purpose and attends spiritual stage matched up? Most of us need to do one of two things: 1. Adjust our programming to the stage of those who are attending our program if it is the best time for those students to attend or 2. Encourage youth who are mismatched spiritually to the purpose to attend a different program that does met their spiritual depth. Note: If you choose one, do not do it at the expense of those who are further down the discipleship path. Be sure if you change the purpose to offer those students an alternative program that meets their needs or you will loose them.
Where – where are your students headed? Have you clearly laid out for them how the programs of your church create a path for them to travel as they grow in there faith. If they have been attending youth group, do they know that attending a small group will help them continue to grow on their journey (will it?).
Your next step is to found in my post Programming the Gaps. Youth don’t grow by attending a program that meets their spiritual development stage. They grow in the gaps between the stages. We’ll talk more about it on Monday.
Help us all grow. Please share your thoughts on Training Fleas and Who, What, and Where as it relates to your ministry and church.
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.