Think. Discuss. Act. Youth Ministry

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Studying Youth Ministry Systematically

Suggestions for systematically studying youth ministry.


As a youth leader, it is important to study youth ministry in a systematic way. Youth culture is worthy of serious attention, and kids deserve professional, understanding youth ministers. This method of discussion may help guide your theology.

The following suggestions, along with the fundamental questions of youth ministry (briefly listed below, and discussed more in-depth in “Four Basic Questions for Youth Ministry” Article Review within the Youth Ministry topic) and other materials from this Encyclopedia, might well constitute a basic course in youth ministry at the Bible college or seminary level. They could also be used for a group of youth leaders who want to acquire additional skills or in any leadership training group.

Four Basic Questions for Youth Ministry

These simple questions should guide a youth worker to effectively reach kids:

  1. What is happening? (Deciphering the present.)
  2. Where are you coming from? (Considering the past.)
  3. Where are you going (or headed)? (Predicting the future.)
  4. How can we help you help yourself to get there? (Means for getting from the present to the future.)

Some Soul-Searching Questions

Do your best with the following questions. Where you are stuck, confer with a theological or sociology professor or a well-trained librarian.

  1. How do you define “theology?” Upon what academic disciplines does theology draw? How does the study of youth ministry relate to theology?
  2. How do you define “culture” and how important is this concept to the study of youth ministries?
  3. How do you define “behavioral sciences,” “anthropology,” “sociology,” and “psychology?”
  4. Upon what academic disciplines should the study of youth ministry draw?
  5. For the next few weeks read through one or two newspapers and two magazines. Cut out or copy articles that relate to children or youth in any way: articles on education, unemployment, development projects, families, abused children, juvenile crime, drugs, teenager pregnancy, abortion, suicide, movies, music, and so forth. Brainstorm ways to share this information with other leaders and develop discussions with young people.
  6. With the help of some young people and leaders, develop a short survey to administer to young people that addresses a certain topic: young people love to answer questions about themselves, and the survey will offer great data to a youth leader and a good forum for group discussion. Maintain anonymity and confidentiality with the surveys. Discuss the results with the group in general terms.
  7. Of the young people surveyed, enlist special information and insight from two. Briefly learn about their lives and world, past and future, interests and needs. What kind of a youth ministry program would be good for these youth?
  8. List two or three of the most important insights about youth culture that were gleaned through this study. How, exactly, were these facts or principles discovered? How do these principles apply to youth ministry? How can these principles be passed on to others? How can you help others study the youth culture?

Dean Borgman
© 2018 CYS

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