What is the missing element for many teens when it comes to faith? I believe it is relationships of significance. For many teens their faith is connected with an emotional moment, a camp, a night, a speaker, or a retreat. When those emotional feelings are gone then God seems to be gone. The only thing they can hope to do is find that emotional moment, camp, night, speaker, or retreat again. Who creates these moments for teens. We do. Yes I am a part of this youth ministry culture along with thousands of other leaders across the country serving in churches and para-church ministries. I think we short circuit spiritual growth when we create events of experiences for teens that have no relational component where teens can process. I have never seen a teen be able to survive spiritually in isolation living on the memory of past emotional experiences. True impact is made in the lives of teens when we connect the experience we create with relationships of significance. Our solution to this issue is to help teens connect in small group each week. We also make sure that at any event we work to connect students and small group leaders. Is the small group process fool proof? Do all the teens in our ministry connect with small group? We all know the answer is no but it is the best tool we have found to help teens discover mentors that will invest in their life. This generation of students will never grow if we don’t help them find the missing element of relationships that matter.
Agreed. Youth Ministry shouldn’t be built up around simply big events but purposeful times of personal connections. It’s unfortunate that it took Youth Ministry so long to catch on. Good stuff man, thanks
Thanks for the comment Ben…you have a dope blog, gonna add that to my reader! Good stuff man
I think you are right. It’s the best we’ve got. I was talking with some youth guys in KY and they we talking about something Chap Clark has said about social capital. How all kids need 5 adults, non-family members, speaking into their lives. We need to be the catalyst for this and mentors and small group leaders are the key. Thanks for taking time to write this and refocus our attention.