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Theological Formation for Youth Ministry

showmethewayWhere do I even begin?

That’s the question we hope to help Anglican youth ministers explore over the course of the coming months through the development of a new online education platform. You’re invited to join us on this adventure.

Late in 2012, the Youth Initiatives Team, led by Christian Harvey began discussions about developing theological resources for those engaged in youth ministry.

Whether volunteer, part-time or full-time staff, lay or ordained, we all need resources for ministering amongst youth in our ever-changing world. And while we need ideas for great new games and ice breakers, while we’re looking for interesting ideas on missions trips and service activities, what we need most of all, is to root what we do in a deep understanding of  why we do it.

That’s what this project is about.

And I’m excited to be working on this project with youth ministers from across the country as well as readers of this blog. We can’t do this without you.

Together, we have the opportunity to develop a program that will help Anglican youth leaders to develop theologically-grounded tools to engage in ministry amongst youth. And that’s what we need. We need to find ways to understand, and communicate the Christian story in the light of our deeply rooted Anglican tradition.

Why should a young person engage in the Christian faith? We need to ask ourselves the same question. If we can’t answer the question for ourselves, how will we invite young people into our communities of faith with any integrity? At the end of the day, Christian youth ministry is about more than keeping kids out of trouble or preserving the institutional church.

At its heart, youth ministry is about inviting young people into the powerful, transformative story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. It’s about discovering the bold adventure that Jesus calls us on, and accepting the challenge. It’s about living as agents of change in the world as we seek to live into the Marks of Mission.

This blog will provide a way of keeping up with the process, and sharing your thoughts and ideas. What resources do you need for your youth ministry? As a youth ministry leader, what would you like to learn?

About Andrew Stephens-Rennie

Andrew is an Anglican lay leader who loves pioneering responsive, contextual solutions to the challenge of being church in the 21st Century. He serves as an assistant to the rector for Evangelism and Christian Formation at Christ Church Cathedral Vancouver and is a founding member of the emerging St. Brigids community (www.stbrigid.ca).
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2 Responses to Theological Formation for Youth Ministry

  1. I am particularly interested in this blog because I am responsible for Outreach – Christian Formation at St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Sidney, BC. I believed a good starting point was to discover what our young people were saying and thinking about Christians and Christianity. After doing some research, I discovered research on point.
    Barna Group published two books on topic: unChristian by David Kinnaman
    You Lost Me by David Kinnaman

    I look forward to following this blog and watch how things unfold. We as adults need to learn to listen more and to speak less.

  2. Hi Wayne – Great to hear from you! It’s always important to listen to what our young people are saying – not just through these surveys (tho they’re helpful!) but also by sitting down with them and listening to their hopes, dreams, and engagement with Christian faith.

    Both books from Kinnamon are great resources to add more detail to our conversations with young people. I would also recommend Kenda Creasy Dean’s “Almost Christian.” It’s based on US research, but speaks deeply into the Canadian context as well.

    One of the things we keep finding through our engagement with many young people in the Anglican Church is that they do not have much of a sense of what Christianity is (outside of going to church). They can’t identify many stories from the scriptures, and they sure don’t know how it applies to their lives.

    I think one of our challenges as those for whom Christian faith is important, is to be able to articulate some of how our story and God’s story intersect — so that we can engage in these types of faith conversations with young people.

    I once had a (bewildering) conversation with a young person who had attended church all their life who was surprised that the “Christ” in the name “Christ Church Cathedral” referred to Jesus. Oi Vey!

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