In the past few years, there has been a lot of buzz in the youth ministry world about outcomes based ministry. Much of this talk has resulted from the Exemplary Youth Ministry Study conducted in 2003. Conversations. Workshops. Books. Lists. The results of that study EYM have produced more literature and ideas than could possibly be broken down in a few short blog posts (let alone one). As we’ve been working through the vision for programming and youth ministry here at Epiphany, though, my brain has been occupied once again by a flurry of objectives, goals, skills, and outcomes that are out there, speaking direction into the world of youth ministry.
What are the characteristics of a mature Christian that we hope our young people have when we launch them into young adulthood at the end of their time in a “traditional” youth ministry program?
What are the characteristics of a congregation that is successful at empowering young people to live out a holistic Christian faith?
There are lots of different voices weighing in on the matter, and lists range anywhere from five basic skills to 40+ skills. All telling us what we “ought” to look like as the church and what we “ought” to be teaching our young people.
Reggie Joiner, and the reThink Group have established a list of five basic things that young people “need to be able to do so they can own their faith and make it personal” (Think Orange, 194):
- Navigate The Bible [survey, locate]: To learn where they can go to find verses that will help them with specific questions
- Personalize Scripture [memorize, apply]: To remember Scripture when they need it most and apply it in everyday situations
- Dialogue with God [public, private]: To encourage them to practice talking with God
- Articulate your Faith [share, defend]: To be able to discuss and wrestle with what they believe so children and teenagers can make their faith their own.
- Worship With Your Life [serve, invest]: To know how to give back to God and to serve Him in the way they live their everyday lives.
- Seek Spiritual Growth, Both Alone and With Others
- Believe God is Present in the World
- Act Out a Commitment of Faith
- Be Active with God’s People
- Possess a Positive, Hopeful Spirit
- Live Out a Life of Service
- Live a Christian Moral Life