Help! I'm a Small Church Youth Worker
This is a comprehensive how-to manual for surviving and thriving in the unique context of a small church. Perfect for pastors, paid youth workers or volunteers, it covers a range of issues particular to small churches, offering practical processes and...
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This is a comprehensive how-to manual for surviving and thriving in the unique context of a small church. Perfect for pastors, paid youth workers or volunteers, it covers a range of issues particular to small churches, offering practical processes and solutions.
Provides those in small church ministry--including volunteer, part-time, and full-time youth workers--with a process and procedure that enables them to address their particular needs as a small church.
Practical help for volunteer, part-time, and full-time youth workers in small churchesEighty-five percent of the churches in America are classified as small. This book provides youth workers with processes and ideas that enable them to address their particular needs as part of small churches.
Rich Grassel is Assistant Professor of Student Ministries at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA. With experience in student ministries for 16 years, Rich has worked in seven different denominations, in both large and small church contexts. He's written for several magazines, including Youthworker Journal, and is a frequent speaker at Youth Specialties' training events. Rich and his wife, Ruth, have two sons and reside in the Beaver Falls area. ý Rich Grassel es profesor asistente de ministerios juveniles en Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pensilvania. Con 16 anos de experiencia, Rich ha tra
- 'who You Callin' Small?' 9
- The Small Church
- Misperceptions Of Small Churches
- Accurate Perceptions Of Small Churches
- Bigger Isn't Always Better!
- Out Of Context,outta Luck:
- The Importance Of Ministry Context,ministry Methods,
- And The Unique Characteristics Of The Small Church
- 1. The Dreaded Question 17
- 2. Location, Location, Location 19
- Why Are There So Many Small Churches?
- Why Does Church Location Affect My Ministry?
- 3. Faith Traditions Do Matter! 27
- Why Must Small Churches Be So Loyal To Their Denominations?
- Potential Theological Hazards
- What Spiritual Maturity Looks Like In Different Theological Traditions
- 4. It's A Family Affair (not A Corporate Entity) 35
- Why Do People Like Small Churches?
- Why Don't Many Small Churches Have Separate Programs For Youth?
- Why Don't Small Churches Grow?
- Why Don't Small Churches Try New Things?
- 5. Diversity And Divisiveness 43
- Why Is It Sometimes So Difficult For Some Small Church Youth Groups To
- Establish A Sense Of Community?
- Why Should Youth Workers Cater To Teenage Subcultures?
- 6. Havin' No Money Ain't So Funny 51
- Why Don't Small Churches Spend More Money On Their Youth?
- Why Don't Many Small Church Youth Programs Last Long?
- 7. Building Blues And Tech-no!-phobes 57
- Two Philosophies...
- Why Don't Small Churches Use The Latest Technology?
- 8. Calling All Volunteers! 65
- Why Do So Many Small Churches Have A Number Of Different Youth Leaders?
- Why Do So Many Small Church Youth Workers Burn Out?
- 9. Keep Your Chin Up 71
- Why Aren't I Getting The Same Results As Other Youth Workers?
- Why Am I Overwhelmed?
- Why Do I Feel Inadequate?
- Which Way Do I Go?
- Models That 'll Fit To A 't ':
- Four Approaches To Youth Ministry In The Small Church
- 10. Building The Right Kingdom 79
- What Is A Youth Ministry Model?
- What Models Are The Right Models?
- How Do I Choose Which Ministry Model To Use In My Ministry Context?
- How Do I Know Which Youth Ministry Approach Will Best Help Me Develop
- My Own Model?
- 11. The Inclusive Congregational Approach: An Extended Family 85
- What Does The Inclusive Congregational Approach Look Like?
- What Should I Do If The Inclusive Congregational Approach Fits My Church?
- What Are Some Ways I Can Build The Inclusive Congregational Approach
- Into My Model Of Youth Ministry?
- What Are Some Ministry Areas In Which Students Can Participate?
- 12. The Discipleship Approach 91
- What Is Discipleship?
- How Do I Know If The Discipleship Approach Is Right For My Church And
- Youth Group?
- What Are Some Ways I Can Use A Discipleship Approach To Develop My Model
- Of Youth Ministry?
- What Leaders Will I Need For The Discipleship Approach?
- 13. The Mentoring Approach 99
- How Will I Know If I Should Consider Using A Mentoring Approach?
- What Does A Mentoring Approach To Youth Ministry Look Like?
- How Do I Use The Mentoring Approach To Establish My Program Model?
- 14. Alternative Approaches 107
- What If My Church Doesn't Fit Into The Contexts Described And The
- Approaches Don't Seem Right?
- What Do I Do If My Small Church And Youth Group Are Growing And We
- Want To Do A Lot Of Outreach?
- What Should I Be Concerned With If I Work In A Not-yet-large Church?
- What If I'm In A Small Inner-city Church?
- What Can I Do If My Church Only Has A Few Kids?
- What If My Church Doesn't Have The Resources Or Number Of Interested Adults
- To Build Any Program For The Youth?
- 15. How Will You Spell Success? 113
- How Will I Know If The Youth Ministry Model I Create Is Successful?
- What Are Some Ways I Can Test The Effectiveness Of My Program?
- Why Shouldn't I Leave Spiritual Development To The Rest Of The Church And
- Focus The Youth Program On Outreach?
- What Should I Remember As I Begin To Develop My Own Model Of Youth
The Dreaded Question It was the end of the day---and the end of a week of inspiring youth ministry seminars. We were a cheerful group of about a dozen youth workers, comfortably seated around the dinner table, all of differing ages, regions, denominations...and church sizes. Our conversation began innocently enough, sparked by what we'd heard from seminar leaders earlier in the day. But then one of the large church youth workers asked the dreaded question: 'So...how big is your youth ministry?' The large church youth workers responded immediately and with great enthusiasm, listing their expansive, active memberships, noting their state-of-the-art ministry resources, and sharing their awesome visions and strategies for additional growth. Feeling woefully inadequate, we small church youth workers grew increasingly quiet. Our confidence and cheerfulness evaporated. Later in the evening, a few of us vented in the hotel lounge (actually we were completely exasperated!). After some reflection, we noted a number of ways that our churches differed from large churches--- mainly in areas related to environment, expectations, and goals. And it became clear to our group: We need something different, because we are different! Not incompetent---just different. In other words, small church youth workers need a specialized approach to youth ministry. Location,Location, Location Why are there so many small churches? It's important to keep in mind that a huge percentage of small churches couldn't be anything but small. Why? Because there aren't enough people living around them! In vast stretches of our country, there simply isn't the population density for large churches---or the numbers to allow for huge youth ministry programs. Why does church location affect my ministry? There are small churches everywhere, from the big city to the farmland. Their geographies directly affect their special cultures and needs---their particular personalities, values, and traditions. So...everything from cultural and ethnic issues to transportation and travel can (and will) The midwestern city of Columbus, Ohio, has almost 660,000 residents; the entire state of Wyoming has fewer than 500,000 residents. have an enormous impact on how youth workers in small churches develop their programs. But before you begin ministry at your small church, you should be aware of some location-specific issues for churches in urban, inner-ring, suburban, small-town, and rural locations. Urban Locations Youth workers in small, urban churches face a number of issues that other small churches don't face. Be prepared for the following: 1. Limited finances---even less cash than the average small church. 2. Safety---crime and dangerous areas might affect meeting times, locations, and frequency. 3. Multi-ethnicity---not just African Americans and Latinos, but also Europeans, Southeast Asians, Russians...in short, every nationality! 4. Acute family problems---young single mothers, absentee fathers, and often grandparents and other family members as guardians. 5. Limited mobility---public transportation might be students' only way to youth group activities. 6. Significant poverty---many single mothers struggle to provide, and fathers might be out of work. 7. Poor health---often families can't afford medical assistance. 8. Violence---for inner-city kids, it's a daily concern, and they may be afraid to attend youth group events because of it. (Between 7 and 9 p.m. in the summer can be the most dangerous time to hold youth group meetings in the inner-city.) 9. Fear of teenagers---older people in the community might suspect their young neighbors are 'always up to no good.' 10. Dilapidated buildings, limited space and out-of-date facilities---the church sanctuary might be the only decent meeting room available to you. 11. High student turnover---youth group kids may not stick around because of their parents' employment situations or other family problems. If you plan to do youth ministry in a small, urban church, these sorts of issues must factor into the way you structure your programs. Kids in inner-city churches are aware of these issues, and if they and the congregation realize you're aware, too, you'll eliminate at least one hurdle. Inner-Ring Locations The 'inner ring' is positioned between suburban and urban areas and is often made up of older neighborhoods. The churches here are usually older, too. Often these churches grow slowly and don't attract new families. It's not uncommon for them to have a mix of blue- and white-collar workers. Generally, youth workers in small, inner-ring churches will face these issues: 1. Competition from larger churches with aggressive outreach programs---in small areas, the word about good programs gets around pretty quick! 2. Transportation problems---rush-hour traffic and bad weather can dissuade students who have to travel more than 20 minutes to youth group events. 'In urban churches, you might have to deal with gang-related issues. If you don't have experience dealing with gangs, don't attempt it without help from very experienced people. (And even if you do have expertise---seek help anyway!) There are ministries established specifically to deal with gang members. 'Try starting youth group meetings at 7 or 7:30 on weeknights to avoid traffic tie-ups. Consider an after-school program if you live near a school. 'Obtain athletic and activity schedules from school districts rep-resented in your youth group. Plan all activities well in advance, balancing them between school calendars, your church's schedule, and ministry opportunities.' 3. School and neighborhood loyalty---kids from rival schools and areas may not want to hang out with your kids (this can apply to adults, too!). 4. Financial difficulties---inner-ring families on fixed incomes usually don't have a lot of discretionary cash. 5. Denominational loyalty---adults in various congregations, particulary those in leadership, are often dedicated to carrying on their families' denominational traditions...and are suspicious of others. Suburban Locations Of all the small churches, suburban congregations tend to have the easiest access to materials and leadership. In addition, the members of these churches are typically young, white-collar workers who are educated and business-minded. Youth workers in small suburban churches should be prepared for the following issues: 1. Turnover in student population---parents often move because of transfers and promotions. 2. Education---parents expect their kids to go to college, and most kids expect the same. 3. Mobility of students---they or their friends typically own cars. 4. Social sophistication---students are concerned about their social status and are introduced to social events early.