Anglican Distinctives in Youth Ministry

(the following has been the most visited article on the FusionMusing Blog)

The question comes up from time to time. What makes for an anglican approach to youth ministry? I’ve heard people try to articulate it but end up not saying much that differs from other traditions. In the years I have served the Diocese of South Carolina, I have worked with a lot of Youth Ministers and helped churches hire them. Sometimes I have interviewed candidates and many times I’ve had people approach me seeking a position and I’ve recommended them to a church. They have come to us from a variety of denominational backgrounds and some who had no denomination in the past. In all this, I have noticed enough patterns to realize that there are qualities or traits that can set anglican Youth Ministers apart. Perhaps this might begin to answer the question of what makes Anglican youth ministry Anglican.

read it all here

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Intergenerational Ideas

Found a helpful article over at Morf that gives five good ideas for making a youth ministry more intergenerational. They include:

1. Invite parents and grandparents to join us in service opportunities.
2. Set up events designed to speak to all generations.
3. Sharing life experiences.
4. All-play events.
5. Weekly emails to our parents letting them know what we are doing in small groups.

It’s worth reading!

Youth group made easy! (Well, a bit easier)

My friend Ken Moser posted this recently on his blog.

Here is Ken’s list of “things you must do to make your year of youth group a bit easier:”
Work with those kids onside; these are probably the “church kids.” They are your base.
As I have said many times in the past, your greatest strength (next to our Lord), is those youth who love the program and give it a high priority. I am still amazed to see the number of groups who neglect these youth in their efforts to reach the unchurched. Big mistake.
Run a weekly meeting that is high on relationships, high on spiritual input done in an enjoyable way.
This probably goes without saying but run every aspect of your weekly meeting through the filter of “does this activity promote good relationships between all involved? If it doesn’t, drop it!
Run a good network of small groups.
Again, a given for must of us. However, many of us still run small groups that are squeezed in at the end of the program giving them too little time and too little importance. We also chop and change these groups in the name of “meeting more people.” To be effective you need the same amount of time, same group of youth with the same leader.
Adult mentoring in a consistent considerate fashion.
Intergeneration mixing is key. One component of this is having parents and older leaders around—regularly and often. This generation of youth love oldies so run with it! Kenda Dean makes a persuasive case in Practicing Passion when she says, “The presence of an adult guarantor in faith is cited repeatedly as the most important factor in a young person’s decision to claim faith as her own” (Practicing Passion, 243).
Work at making youth gatherings a place where friends are welcomed and desired.
Again, this is more of a reminder than anything new. However, far too many groups are simply … not all that welcoming. Are newcomers welcome, met with smiles and the invitation to come and join our circle (or any other activity that the particular group is doing at any given time)?
Listen to the youth and show interest in them. Speak to them and with them, not down to them.
When you are talking to a young person, look them in the eye, listen to what they say, show interest in their world. You don’t need to be an expert on youth culture or youth issues—you simply need to be an expert in “being interested in them!”
Finally, be patient with the youth and with the program. Build for the future, think long-term.
Remember what I have written long ago: you are not building a speedboat, you are building an aircraft carrier. You want this group to get better and better, but that will take some time, some prayer and a good deal of effort. You also want this group to be around for a long time. This means you must always work with the future in mind asking questions such as, “How do I build these youth to be strong disciples when they are young adults and older?”, and “How can I develop youth to be well-trained, productive leaders for the future?”