I still feel somewhat new to the world of teaching youth ministry, even though this begins my third year in the role. I’m glad to work with future ministers, but let me tell you: it requires me to be on my toes and keep a lot of things in mind at once. On top of that, it is nearly always connected to the daily lives of my students, many of whom are serving as ministry volunteers or leaders even as they are enrolled at our university.
This semester I’m teaching a class entitled “Family Ministry Development,” vaguely titled but importantly focused upon the task of curricular goals, planning, and supplementary special events in youth and children’s ministry. To begin with, I asked students to come to the second day of class with two things in mind: 1) the most effective long-term curricular strategy they’ve ever experience in a youth/children’s ministry setting and 2) the most impactful such ministry event they’ve been a part of.
My initial thought as the group shared was that we could hear of a wide variety of experiences and methods as well as think about the deeper goals and objectives inherent in such efforts. The added benefit of getting to know each others’ story and spiritual journey was important as well.
The classroom experience was that and more. As we sat yesterday and students shared about ministry times with young children, camps and missions trips that deeply impacted their lives, not to mention youth group efforts that helped them and others continue on the path of faith, I was inspired. I even shared a story of my own.
By the end of the conversation, I summed it up like this: all of us have some powerful stories and experiences that brought us to where we are today. While we understand that all of these developments are, ultimately, the works of God, they are nevertheless things that God allows us to participate in. What a privilege, honor, and calling to be able to learn how to think about, plan, and execute ministry activities and teaching strategies that may powerfully impact those whose “most effective” ministries and “most impactful” events are yet to come. Those whose lives will be open for change and redemption. Who will speak and live forth the love of God in the world. Who, perhaps a decade or more from now, will sit in these very seats and share stories of their own.
That’s my Friday thought. Have a great weekend.