Contribution to Book
When does youth ministry really begin? It is a question we all need to ask to be effective in ministering to our youth. What really is youth ministry? These two questions come from a belief that there is a specific time frame and a particular way to minister to young people that is different from where they have come and where they are going. However, I would like to introduce a different idea. The idea that youth ministry really begins before childhood ends. It is a continuous mentoring and nurturing of children, helping them mature and grow in Christ from childhood to adolescence, and eventually adulthood. The idea of youth ministry as a continuum is depicted in the growth of a seed. The care given to a seed as it grows into a mature plant is not interrupted or delayed. Continual and constant care, without any discontinuance, given to the growth of this seed is what produces a beautiful plant which bears much fruit. If the care of this seed was interrupted or delayed, it would hinder the maturation of the seed, and later, the production of its fruit. As the young plant is watered and nourished, it grows into a beautiful and mature plant. As this plant continues to mature, it needs pruning to enable it to flourish. Just as we would not stop watering a seed as it grows into a plant, we cannot minister to children now and then minister to them as youth later. We need to provide constant and continuous mentorship with a clear intent. The care begins when they are children and continues as they mature into a man or woman of God, and just as the plant may need pruning, youth will need experiences that will allow them to mold their character and build their Christian identity. Youth Ministry – It Starts Sooner than You Think!
Ministering with Millennials: A Complete Report on the 180° Symposium
Roger L. Dudley with Allan Walshe
The 180° Symposium
Moon, Jiwan S., "Youth Ministry: It Starts Sooner Than You Think! A Youth Ministry Case Study Report" (2009). 180 Symposium Publications. 69.
Posed with permission, Center for Youth Evangelism at Andrews University