January Newsletter

Four people watching the sun set

January Newsletter

New Courses Are Available Online!

We’ve designed a program of courses to support developing youth ministries.  There are currently 10 courses available on topics like: Envisioning, Building and Sustaining Thriving Youth Ministries; Recruiting, Training and Supervising Youth Workers and Volunteers; Cultivating Student Leadership; Studying the Bible with Youth; Tending to the Mental Health of Adolescents; and more.  Each offering is designed to help you and your team “prepare” with scripture, “engage” through videos and discussion questions, and “reflect”with closing questions.  As always, these resources are offered free of charge.  Coming in February: Offering Effective Pastoral Care; and Promulgating and Implementing Church Safety Guidelines.

We will also have a “Resources” section of the website launching this spring that will offer curriculum and samples of practical materials for use in youth ministry (i.e. sample budgets, mission trip planning outline, parent meeting outline, etc.), scripture resources and more.

Visit the Courses section of our website to see what’s currently available.

News from OASIS

YMI is in partnership with OASIS, a multi-church youth group comprised of churches in the New Haven area.  As part of our ongoing series, Jack Davidson, Senior Pastor of The Spring Glen Church in Hamden talks about the moment he knew the OASIS multi-church youth group model would succeed:

Our Kids

Here is the moment I knew it would work. Every factor was conspiring against us. Differing church schedules and needs. Recent failures with other local attempts at multi-church ministry. Wider cultural trends away from church ministry. But I can pinpoint the moment I knew why our experiment in multi-church youth ministry could succeed where others had failed.

It was only the first or second month of programming together and we had an event that was going to last all afternoon. One of my co-conspirators showed up, a Senior Pastor who probably had a million other pastoral and institutional demands. None of the kids from his church were attending that day, and I gave him the out. I said, “I understand if you feel like you need to bail since none of your kids showed up.” And he said, “No, I committed to be here, and anyway these are my kids too.”  This kept happening over and over. Senior Pastors would show up to help out even though none of “their” kids could come, and they would explicitly affirm that every kid was “our” kid, every youth “our” youth, every event “our” event.

This is the essential ingredient to making sure a multi-church youth ministry works. If you continue to segregate in your mind which kids belong to which church, you will never become a singular ministry. But as soon as the participants and the leaders start thinking about every kid as “our kids,” then you have crossed an important threshold. As soon as each church is willing to commit financially, no matter how many of “their” kids show up, as soon as each Senior Pastor is willing to help lead the program whether or not “their” kids show up, that’s when you know people get what’s happening.

The only future Youth Ministry has is one where we view it as an opportunity to serve every youth we encounter no matter what church they belong to, or especially if they belong to no church at all. It may seem like an obvious shift, but it’s actually surprisingly difficult for churches who are desperate to hold onto members to overcome the unspoken competitiveness that is embedded in our traditional ways of functioning. 

The truth is that church in isolation no longer works. But in order for multi-church ministry to work, we need to forgo the ego of our individual church and commit to the collective service to the youth and the growth in the wider Body of Christ.

YMI Lunch & Lecture Series

If you missed any of the fall YMI Lectures (with Skip Masback, Bill Mathis and Andy Root), you can find them in the Events section of our website here.

And be sure to join us on February 5, 2020 for our next YMI Lunch & Lecture program with Professor Mary Moschella for a primer on the fundamentals of Pastoral Care. RSVP via EventBrite.

Look for details on YMI Summer Symposium in the February Newsletter!