Youth Ministry is Big Stuff Around Here
WANTED: The Next Generation of Christian Leaders
Volume 7 | Issue 1 | Spring 2011
Youth Ministry is Big Stuff Around Here
An Interview with Nick Tomeo, Field Chair, Youth Ministry
CCU 514: How would you define youth ministry?
Nick: Youth Ministry is winning youth to Christ, teaching them grow in Christ, connecting them with the church, and empowering them to use their gifts and talents to serve the Lord. In different churches the age groups can be different. Some youth ministers work with children and teens. Others work with just teens. Some work with only middle school young people. But the purpose is to reach youth for Christ, connect them to Jesus and the Church—not just the youth group, find places that will allow them to use their gifts and talents in ministry, and then work to minister to and be a help to the family.
CCU 514: How can youth ministry help teenagers face problems?
Nick: Youth ministry can help them handle temptation, find sanity in a crazy world, find purpose in life, and do something worthwhile.
CCU 514: What are the strengths of today’s youth?
Nick: They accept diversity better than adults. They are very technologically savvy. They have a hunger to do something good. They a relationship oriented. They can be fun, creative, and idealistic.
CCU 514: What is the greatest impact that youth ministry can have on a young person?
Nick: Youth ministry can teach youth about Jesus, win them to Christ, help them to become a real part of the church, find them a place to serve in the kingdom, and recruit them to consider full time Christian work.
CCU 514: What has changed in youth ministry?
Nick: Technology has changed—there are more ways to communicate with teens. There are now more resources for the youth minister to use. Service projects and mission trips are emphasized more and more. Youth ministers are seeing the need to be more family friendly and helpful to parents. Hopefully youth ministers are also seeing the importance of connecting the teens to the church as a whole and not just the youth group.
CCU 514: In what areas are today’s young people most interested in serving?
Nick: They love to travel and serve short term on a mission field. Also they love it if they can use their talents in ministry.
CCU 514: What role does youth ministry play in supporting CCU’s commitment to develop Christian leaders?
Nick: We would love it if every youth minister would have in their job description something that says that recruiting youth into Christian service and attending Bible college is part of their job. While it is good when teens choose other careers (we need more Christian doctors and lawyers), it is up to the church to challenge their students to consider going into ministry as a lifetime calling. Everything else recruits kids to go into some other field, so if anyone is going to raise up more ministers and missionaries, is has to be the Church. That means the youth minister needs to schedule trips to take the youth to Christian Colleges. Bible college groups should be invited to come to the church on various occasion to interact with the teens. Youth ministers should counsel teens to consider ministry of mission work after graduation, and when a young person is ordained into the ministry the church needs to go all out to make it a BIG deal—even do it on during a Sunday morning service.
CCU 514: How does youth ministry work at CCU?
Nick: We are strong on youth ministry at CCU. A youth ministry degree requires courses in Bible and theology, plus application courses that talk about how to teach the Bible to teens, how to counsel using the Bible with youth, youth ministry programming, etc. The core courses in the application courses are taught by experienced youth ministers. In order to make sure the courses are cutting edge, we meet regularly with youth ministers to allow them to review what is being offered with suggestions as to what can be done better.
And then we require a 3-7 month internship to be completed by every youth ministry student before they can graduate. This internship places youth ministry student (40+ hours per week) in the field with veteran youth ministry people for on the job training.
We also offer a group college students can join called nu delta sigma—Youth Ministry Society, for fellowship and activity planning for students in youth ministry.
Add to that the fact we offer a training event every spring for youth ministers, youth leaders and high school students to attend. At this event , we train those doing youth ministry in the churches. Some notable speakers have been Les Christie, Michael Kast, Walt Mueller, and Steve Carter. This year Doug Fields will be speaking.
Youth ministry is big stuff around here.
CCU 514: What can the church body do to support youth ministry?