Effective Youth Ministry

Over the last decade or more, a project entitled ‘Exemplary Youth Ministry’ has been in progress in the United States. Results from the study were published in 2010 in The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry: Leading Congregations toward Exemplary Youth Ministry.

The study involved surveys in 131 churches and three-day visits to 21 churches across 7 denominations.

The researchers found 4 characteristics in those churches which were outstanding in the vitality of the faith of their young people.

1. Youth ministry was thoroughly integrated into the life of the church as a whole. One of the signs of this was the existence of strong relationships between people of different generations. These churches were good at involving people of all age groups in the worship and other activities of the church.

2. Youth ministry was characterised by the formation of a caring environment and authentic relationships in which young people felt they were respected and in which they developed a sense of belonging. The programs were well-planned and creatively employed a variety of activities appropriate to the ministry’s mission and content.

3. These exemplary churches provided strong support for the practice of faith within families. The researchers found that young people with a vital faith mostly lived in families where there was a high degree of family harmony, expressed in the interest parents showed in their children and in the fact that the families did things together.

4. The leaders of the local church were good role models, reflecting their faith in the ways they lived. They related well to young people and provided strong support for the youth ministry.

The CRA is interested in conducting a similar study in Australia to explore further what makes effective youth ministry here.

For further details of this study see: https://www.cra.org.au/products-page/pointers/pointers-vol-22-2-for-downloading/.

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