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Strategic Youth Ministry: 30 Keys to Life-Change in Teenagers

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Discover the Keys to Unlock the Youth Ministry Potential in Your Church!
These 30 must-have, make-a-difference keys for effective youth ministry are the result of extensive research form Search Institute, the renowned leaders in youth research. You'll find practical, solution-oriented strategies to ...
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Overview

:
Discover the Keys to Unlock the Youth Ministry Potential in Your Church!
These 30 must-have, make-a-difference keys for effective youth ministry are the result of extensive research form Search Institute, the renowned leaders in youth research. You'll find practical, solution-oriented strategies to evaluate and address the most important areas of your youth ministry.
Extensive research shows that effective youth programs:
-Nurture faith in teenagers,
-Create a warm, friendly, thinking environment,
-Create a caring church community,
-Provide effective Christian education,
-Share evangelism and missions,
-Offer inspiring worship,
-Strengthen families,
-Develop a clear youth ministry vision,
-Involve youth in church leadership, and much more.
You'll not only understand the importance of these keys, you'll also learn HOW to implement them in your church! Complete with step-by-step evaluations and practical ideas, this much-needed resource will help you develop your youth ministry into an active, thriving ministry that makes an impact on teenagers' daily lives!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764421891
  • Publisher: Group Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Pages: 124
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.56 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction
"We need more youth activities in our congregation."
"Let's do a servant event this summer."
"Should we do a lock-in again this year?"
"How can we add another youth activity? We're too busy already."
These kinds of questions and statements are common among people involved in youth ministry. There are so many needs, so many ideas, so much that could be done. How do you decide what to do? What are the priorities?
Effective youth ministry helps youth develop a deep and enduring faith. But effective youth ministry is not just a series of programs and projects that keep youth busy, involved, and coming to church. Rather, it results from thoughtful planning in which a congregation becomes intentional about providing opportunities and experiences for youth that can strengthen their faith commitment.
The Research Behind Strategic Youth Ministry
Strategic Youth Ministry is based on a major Search Institute study of 2,314 adults and youth in 151 Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations titled Congregations at Crossroads: A National Study of Adults and Youth in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. This book not only gives a glimpse of the faith lives of LCMS adults and youth and their experiences in their families and congregations, but also pinpoints qualities in congregations that contribute to growth in faith among youth and adults. Furthermore, it focuses on the study's implications for youth and youth ministry.
At the heart of the study is an exploration of the faith life and experiences of LCMS adults and youth based on the framework of "faith maturity." Developed by Search Institute through several national studies in otherdenominations, the framework seeks to capture the extent to which individuals embody the priorities, commitments, and perspectives of a dynamic and life-transforming faith. At its core, the Faith Maturity Index measures two basic dimensions of Christian faith:
*the vertical dimension, which indicates a life-transforming relationship with a loving God, and
*the horizontal dimension, which indicates a consistent devotion to serving others in the world.
Youth and adults in congregations were surveyed regarding their personal commitments, actions, and beliefs. Based on their responses, people were scored on the two dimensions. Ideally, people would score high on both these dimensions, indicating what we call an "integrated" faith.
Congregations have a great deal of influence on the shape of faith, beliefs, and actions of youth and adults. This study identified thirty-four qualities of congregational life that correlate with young people loyal to their congregation and denomination. As young people experience more of these qualities, they are more likely to experience a life-transforming faith. Yet the average LCMS youth experiences only 12.1 of these faith-nurturing qualities.
These thirty-four qualities are certainly not the only things that are important in youth ministry, but they do provide an important place to start thinking about what it means to be a faith-nurturing congregation for youth. By seeking to build these qualities, congregations have great potential for renewing and enhancing members' faith and their commitments to live that faith and share that faith with others through acts of evangelism, outreach, and service.
Practical Ideas
Strategic Youth Ministry focuses on the practical ways you can strengthen your youth ministry in thirty-four areas that were found to be key in nurturing faith in adolescents. Here's what you'll find:
The first section introduces the dimensions of faith maturity and helps you reflect on your priorities in youth ministry. It also introduces the qualities identified through research that are important for nurturing a mature faith in youth.
Each remaining chapter focuses on a broad area of congregational life that we found to be important in nurturing faith. These range from an engaging climate to effective Christian education to inspiring worship. You'll find brief background information on each of these areas, plus a work sheet to help you and your planning team evaluate your congregation in each area.
Within each of these major areas, we have identified keys to effective youth ministry. For each key you'll find creative, practical ideas to use in your congregation. These ideas can be used as they are or as triggers for additional brainstorming about what would work best in your setting. In addition, you'll be pointed toward other resources if you need to focus on a specific area, recognizing that this book introduces topics and themes, but does not explore them in depth.
Within each section you'll find at least one work sheet to help teenagers read Scripture, pray, discuss, and write about their faith in the context of church life. These tools will help young people understand the keys discussed and apply these concepts to their church experience. They'll also give teenagers opportunities to look for and incorporate those elements in their lives. These pieces will then help teenagers and church leaders work together to act on the students' feedback.
Section 10 offers four sessions (each about one hour long) to help your congregation reflect on the implications of the study's findings and framework for your youth ministry. While it presents some information from the national study, it also focuses on helping your congregation explore its own faith life and on ways to strengthen youth ministry. By using these four sessions, you'll
*help participants reflect on the dimensions of faith and their implications for your congregations' youth ministry (session 1),
*examine your congregation in light of thirty-four qualities of congregations that nurture young people's faith (session 2),
*begin envisioning and setting priorities for how your congregation hopes to shape its youth ministry (session 3), and
*identify ways to begin working toward your priorities and building support for your vision (session 4).
Using Strategic Youth Ministry for Planning
Strategic Youth Ministry has been written so that you can use it many different ways. Most people won't read through it cover to cover. Rather, you can dip into it to get help in specific areas of interest.
It also includes many tools that can be useful for getting the big picture and planing your congregation's youth ministry. Here's a simple way to use the book for planning:
1. Get a cross section of youth and adults together for a planning
session. (Include adults who are not active youth program volunteers.) Introduce some of the key ideas in this book.
2. Focus attention on the introductory page and work sheet for each of the eight categories. Perhaps assign each of these areas to a small group to present to everyone else. Ask each group to introduce its quality, why it thinks the quality is important, and how well it believes the congregation is doing in that particular area. Have groups use the work sheets as tools to assess how the congregation is doing. Have them complete the exercises for teenagers and discuss them.
3. After all the small groups have made their presentation, have the whole group identify the top strengths in the congregation and the areas of greatest need and concern. Use these ideas and the four sessions to focus energy in the youth ministry. Use the specific ideas for the individual qualities to develop ideas and plans.
As you develop plans, don't feel that you have to do everything-or that everything is even appropriate for your congregation. Use this book (and others like it) to spark your own thinking and creativity. Then use the shared knowledge, commitments, and sense of calling of your congregation to shape the kind of ministry that will most impact the lives of young people in your congregation and community.

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Table of Contents


Introduction ........................................................................ 6

Section 1: Nurturing Faith-A Focus for Youth Ministry .................. 9

Section 2: Engaging Climate .................................................... 17

Key 1: Create a Warm, Welcoming, and Friendly Climate ................. 20

Key 2: Cultivate a Climate That Challenges Young People's Thinking .... 22

Key 3: Minimize Conflict...and Deal with It Constructively When It
Arises......................................................................... 24

Key 4: Generate Excitement for the Congregation's Youth Ministry ........ 26

Key 5: Provide Opportunities for Youth and Adults to Spend Quality
Time Together .............................................................. 27

Section 3: Caring Community .................................................... 29

Key 6: Focus on Meeting Youth's Personal Needs ............................ 32

Key 7: Create a Community in Which Youth Experience Support and
Care ......................................................................... 33

Key 8: Provide Opportunities for Youth to Build Relationships With
Each Other .................................................................. 34

Key 9: Connect Youth With Adults in the Congregation ...................... 35

Key 10: Involve Youth in Reaching Out to the Community ................. 37

Section 4: Effective Christian Education ......................................... 39

Key 11: Provide Quality ChristianEducation for All Ages .................. 42

Key 12: Encourage Ongoing Involvement in Christian Education ........... 43

Key 13: Use Interactive Learning Methods ..................................... 44

Key 14: Offer Excellent Bible Study ............................................ 46

Key 15: Teach the Bible in Ways That Make It Come Alive for Youth .... 47

Key 16: Emphasize Connections Between Faith and Life ................... 50

Section 5: Evangelism and Mission Emphasis ................................ 53

Key 17: Emphasize Evangelism and Missions in the Youth Program ..... 56

Key 18: Teach Youth to Share Their Faith With Others ..................... 57

Section 6: Inspiring Worship for Youth ........................................ 59

Key 19: Make Sermons Relevant to Youth .................................... 62

Key 20: Offer Meaningful Worship for Youth .................................. 65

Section 7: Support for Families .................................................. 69

Key 21: Make Strengthening Family Life a Priority of Youth Ministry .... 72

Key 22: Equip Parents to Nurture Faith in Their Children .................... 73

Section 8: A Clear Vision .......................................................... 75

Key 23: Develop a Clear Vision for Youth Ministry in the
Congregation ................................................................ 78

Key 24: Involve Youth in Shaping and Sharing the Vision for Youth
Ministry ...................................................................... 79

Section 9: Empowering Leadership ............................................... 81

Key 25: Develop an Open and Affirming Leadership Style ................... 84

Key 26: Foster Excitement About the Congregation and Youth Ministry
Among Leaders ............................................................. 85

Key 27: Involve Youth in Congregational Decision Making ................. 86

Key 28: Foster in Youth a Sense of Responsibility for the Congregation's
Ministry ...................................................................... 88

Key 29: Use Young People's Talents in the Congregation ................... 89

Key 30: Be Open to New Ideas to Strengthen the Congregation and
Youth Ministry .............................................................. 90

Section 10: Focusing Your Youth Ministry ................................... 93

Four Planning Sessions

Session 1: Faith Maturity-A Focus for Youth Ministry ........... 94

Session 2: Qualities of Faith-Nurturing Congregations .............. 100

Session 3: Creating Priorities and Pictures of the Future ............ 107

Session 4: Building Support and Taking Steps ........................ 111

Action Plan: Putting the Pieces Together .............................. 119

Afterword: Change Takes Time ................................................... 122

Resource Publishing ................................................................ 123

Endnotes .............................................................................. 124

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