We are a small group of people who work in the Youth Initiatives office at the Anglican Church of Canada. We have been involved in Youth Ministry for many years in parishes and dioceses right across the country. We have also been part of Ask & Imagine, a theology and leadership formation program for youth and youth leaders at Huron University College/Faculty of Theology.
One of the things we have learned over the years is that there is almost no access to youth ministry training for the average leader in a congregation, youth worker, part time youth minister or staff. We also live in a BIG country, where distance is a huge factor in accessing learning opportunities.
Over decades of combined experience, we have learned that most youth ministry is seen as a commodity market. It’s about ‘selling’ church to kids, to keep them interested in church at all cost, to make church a fun, social and engaging place to be. Youth ministry becomes a flash and dash/sensational/consumer-driven enterprise where we are always looking for the next big thing, that will appeal to young people and ‘keep them coming.” If we can sneak some spiritual formation into that, so much the better.
Youth ministry is so much more than that.
Youth Ministry offers young people a place to help them make big life choices, decide who they are, whose they are, how God is calling them and how they are going to give themselves to the world and to others. Youth ministry is about engaging youth at a level of their passion and their place in the world. Where are they acting? Where are they willing? Who are they becoming? We can’t ask them to engage with questions like that without providing the mentors, leaders and experiences that will help shape those questions and choices.
What youth ministry needs is not just ‘good program’ but also thinking leaders who are formed in theological reflection, discernment, leadership and know how to engage young people in this too.
Our vision for Trailblazing is to help you become a discerning, reflective, and thoughtful youth worker in your community of faith.