The Need for Youth Worker Training
By Rev. Dennis Gray
There are many ideas of what a "youth director" does. It matters little whether in the local congregation or in the larger district or in the church body. Mark Lamport in the Christian Journal, Autumn 1992 in his articled titled, "The State of the Profession of Youth Ministry" states, "Other popular misguided images of the youth minister are often seen: entertainer, baby sitter, older adolescent, surrogate parent, disciplinarian, buddy, activities director."
"What is needed now in pastoral practice is not derived from looking anxiously for some new quick fix from modernity, but more from listening anew to centuries of tested pastoral experience. Necessary, then, as the first order tasks for the youth ministers as a responsible professional is the mandate:
"Ultimately, youth ministry must help young people to know, love and glorify God."
"There are critical understandings and skills needed by those who will minister to youth today."
"Lamport's choice to focus on ministry principles and philosophy is one I (Rahn) heartily endorses." "I am personally drawn to the biblical principles such as found in the Son Life movement."
"One who ministers would do well to have a clear sense of why they do what they do, an understanding of the nature of young persons, competency in handling the word of God and insight into how to help persons grow into Christ likeness."
In these words, both Lamport and Rahn agree on the necessity of having trained youth workers. Some think that because a youth worker is near the age of the youth, that youth worker can best communicate with them. It is, however, my feeling that just a few years after High School, the culture of youth work changes so much that it is even difficult for younger people to know what is happening in the High School or even the College. Therefore, trained youth workers are needed. Son Life offers this. It is, however, my opinion that Bible School training and Seminary would be very worth while.
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