Tag Archives: youth work

a little ym3.0 reflection

love these blog reflections from youth workers like dain swanson who are thinking about youth ministry 3.0 and how it reflects the changes their observing in their own youth ministries:

This past weekend I was away from my normal routine and on Choir tour with the National Lutheran Choir. I have been singing with this choir for 5 years and love this group of people. Choir tour is always a great time to get away from the routine normalcy of life, see a little bit of the countryside and perform some great music at the same time.

I also looked forward to this trip because I picked up a new book about youth ministry called Youth Ministry 3.0. I was interested in it for a couple of reasons: 1, it was written By Marko from Youth Specialities and 2, I have noticed a change in the youth at Word of Peace and this book addresses some of the key points I am experiencing.

The basic idea is that there has been two major shifts in how youth ministry is run and how it reaches youth. The first was when youth ministry first became youth ministry. It was back in the 60’s and 70’s, post WWII, and churches began to realize that youth culture, for the first time, was in fact a culture of its own and need to be talked to and dealt with in a unique way. The first years of youth ministry were all about winning back the lost youth who had gone astray and pick up some new youth along the way as well.

The next shift came in the late 70’s and 80’s when the focus was on programming. How many awesome events could you plan and more importantly, how many people showed up. We are still experiencing this mentality today because “Programming or Youth Ministry 2.0 is what current Youth Directors were brought up in and are shaping their ministries after.

But youth culture has changed a lot since the 80’s and 90’s. There has been a huge change in the way youth communicate with each other. Back in the 70’s youth was defined by when you were going through puberty, now it has more to do with mental and social rather than physical development. All this to say I was thinking a lot about the ministry at Word of Peace this weekend.

I haven’t finished the book yet, but because it’s not very long I will be done soon. There are lots of good points made so far, some of which I agree with and will look forward to implementing. There are also ideas that we are already doing. But there is still a fundamental change that needs to be made in how we minister and who we minister to. The time of gauging success by numbers is over. We need t start looking deeper into how we are affecting the lives of youth. We need to begin by finding a balance between telling them how to live their lives and just living it with them. We need to focus less on making the program awesome and more on relationships.

The strange part about this book is it’s not a “how to” book. There are no formulas or cookie cutter youth ministry programs to follow because the essence of Youth Ministry 3.0 is individualizing your ministry to your community. And that only happens if you know your youth.

I am excited to see where God leads me with this book. I am excited to see where God leads all of us.

links to check out

my friend bob carlton sends me lots of really helpful links to check out on the ‘net. i put most of them into a temporary folder until i have a chance to catch up on them. these links are all from a wad i just got caught up on. really interesting stuff for youth workers (and parents, in some cases):

— study shows that teenagers (at least in the UK, where the study was done) spend an average of 31 hours a week online (and, an average of 2 of those hours are spent looking at porn).

The Idea Camp: a free hybrid conference for idea makers (Feb 27-28, 2009 in Irvine, CA)

The Idea Camp is a FREE, open source hybrid conference designed to help people move from the realm of ideas to implementation.
We are gathering some of the most innovative and creative leaders from around the country (this means YOU!) to share ideas, intentionally network, and move collaboratively into idea-making. Whether your passion is church leadership, non-profit work, social entrepreneurialism, technology, media, creativity, culture making, church planting, spiritual formation, compassionate justice, etc., this is the conference for YOU.

Spirituality, Not Religion, Makes Kids Happy (on livescience.com)

The link between spirituality and happiness is pretty well-established for teens and adults. More spirituality brings more happiness. Now a study has reached into the younger set, finding the same link in “tweens” and in kids in middle childhood.
Specifically, the study shows that children who feel that their lives have meaning and value and who develop deep, quality relationships — both measures of spirituality, the researchers claim — are happier.
Personal aspects of spirituality (meaning and value in one’s own life) and communal aspects (quality and depth of inter-personal relationships) were both strong predictors of children’s happiness, said study leader Mark Holder from the University of British Columbia in Canada and his colleagues Ben Coleman and Judi Wallace.
However, religious practices were found to have little effect on children’s happiness, Holder said.

Teens send 10,000 text messages per year, study finds (this study is also from the UK, where — i’ve observed — the texting craze amongst teenagers happened earlier than it did for american teens). the article is about more than just texting, btw.

The average teenager sends almost 10,000 text messages per year, and is so worried about missing an important call that they leave their mobile phone switched on overnight, according to the latest survey into the digital habits of young people.

Youth No Longer Defined by Age; Consumers Stay ‘Younger’ Longer

The traditional demographic definition of “youth” is no longer applicable in today’s society, and marketers should target consumers based upon their engagement and participation in youth culture rather than by chronological age, according to the “Golden Age of Youth” study from Viacom Brand Solutions International (VBSI), writes MarketingCharts.
As people worldwide delay the onset of adult responsibilities and stay emotionally and physically younger for longer, it is becoming more acceptable for older people to participate in youthful pursuits. To support this trend, marketers should routinely consider the often-overlooked 25-34 age group a part of the youth market, VBSI said.
“Contemporary youth should now be defined as ‘the absence of functional and/or emotional maturity,’ reflecting the fact that accepting traditional responsibilities such as mortgages, children and developing a strong sense of self-identity/perspective is occurring later and later in life,” the study said.

youth specialties acquires youth ministry exchange

i’m really stoked about this. message boards used to be a massive part of the ys website. but it got out of control and a bit ingrown. we took them down for a period of time, then decided to let other forums that had sprung up fill the gap. the best of those grass-roots online community efforts was youth ministry exchange (ymx), started by adam mclane and derek tang (later, jointly owned by adam and patti gibbons). ys has had a great relationship with ymx, and sent a good deal of traffic their way. and, over the years, ymx has developed into a full-fledged youth ministry site with articles, reviews, and lots of other stuff, in addition to their message boards.

when we (ys) were getting ready to relaunch our website, we wanted to add community elements back in, and thought it seemed silly to “compete” with ymx. so we approached adam and patti about bringing ymx on board at ys, and hiring adam as our full-time online community dude (a role he started in a few weeks ago).

my hope is that ymx will really flourish as part of ys, and provide a great space for interaction and community for an even-wider audience of youth workers.

adam posted a great q&a about the acquisition, his motives, and other stuff here.

and, here’s the official press release:

Youth Specialties Acquires Youth Ministry Exchange

Companies offer complementary resources, share common mission, vision

Youth Specialties, El Cajon, CA., June 18, 2008 – Youth Specialties, a division of Zondervan, a youth ministry organization that provides quality publications, resources, training, and encouragement for youth workers and youth-oriented organizations around the world today announced it has acquired Youth Ministry Exchange, a website devoted to serving, supporting and encouraging Youth Workers globally. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The acquisition will allow both parties to work together to provide more resources and support for Youth Workers and their mission. YMX will currently remain a stand alone website supported by Youth Specialties.

“It just made sense to bring Youth Ministry Exchange back to Youth Specialties and be able to empower them to reach further in their mission with the support of YS,” said Mark Oestreicher, Youth Specialties President. “We’re thrilled with the site that Adam McLane, Patti Gibbons, and their leadership team have built over the past few years. We plan to continue to grow its reputation and support the network that has become an integral part of the Youth Worker world.” “YMX is excited to join the Youth Specialties family as we continue on our mission to connect youth workers to an online community,” said Adam McLane, President, Youth Ministry Exchange.

About Youth Specialties For nearly 40 years, Youth Specialties has worked alongside Christian youth workers of nearly every denomination and youth-serving organization. Each year, Youth Specialties serves more than 100,000 youth workers worldwide through training seminars and conventions, resources and the Internet. Youth Specialties produces the YS National Youth Workers Convention for more than 15,000 youth workers each fall; and in the spring hosts the CORE™ training day for 20,000 youth workers. For more information, visit www.youthspecialties.com.

Zondervan, a HarperCollins company, is a world leader in Christian communications and the leading Christian publishing brand. For more than 75 years, Zondervan has delivered transformational Christian experiences through general and academic resources by influential leaders and emerging voices, and been honored with more Christian Book Awards than any other publisher. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., with offices in San Diego and Miami, Zondervan conducts events and publishes its bestselling Bibles, books, audio, video, curriculum, software, and digital products through its Zondervan, eZondervan, Zonderkidz, Youth Specialties, Editorial Vida, and National Pastors Convention brands. Zondervan resources are sold worldwide through retail stores, online, and by Zondervan ChurchSource, and are translated into nearly 200 languages in more than 60 countries. Visit Zondervan on the Internet at www.zondervan.com.