While it may sound like the Exemplary Youth Ministry study was just about these 121 congregations who have it all together, that’s far from a complete picture. The EYM study is really all about your church. In the years since the study was completed we’ve discovered that all-important transferability factor.
Churches who take on these Faith Assets and focus their ministry on maturing Christian young people instead of a myriad of other goals, really can and do develop a Spirit-filled culture of ministry at their church. We’ve seen it happen.
The First Third Ministry team at Luther Seminary is very committed to seeing the EYM results get pulled into the ministries of all kinds of churches all over the country. To that end, we have been engaged in coaching processes for four years, walking alongside churches and helping them to take their current faith assets seriously, while they also identify and work to develop new ones.
We also just completed a weekend that we call EYM on the Road with a group of Lutheran Churches in South Dakota. We are always amazed at the several things that happen when we put this study in front of people.
Just getting your brain around the notion that youth ministry is about maturing Christian young people is huge. It means all kinds of changes in the way and the why you are doing what you are doing. It takes a while to absorb and figure out what that looks like at your church.
This really changes the job of people working with youth. The job is now to broker relationships between youth and other people in the congregation.
The EYM results and Faith Assets are actually remarkably freeing. Youth Ministry is no longer about YOUR ability to attract kids.
The change that is necessary to put more faith assets into play at your church is a different kind of change than we gets packaged for us to buy. That’s frustrating, but it makes all churches capable of making those changes.
Yep, you and your church. You can do it.
Dr. Nancy Going is a 20 some year veteran of congregational youth ministry. She coordinates the Distributed (distance) youth ministry students at Luther Seminary. She did her PhD research by interviewing adolescents from the Exemplar congregations.
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