I am a Campus Minister serving at York University in Toronto, Ontario. In one sense, I am out of my Campus Ministry league here but I have been wondering about a question or topic that I hope Youth Ministers can help me with.
I think too much of our ministries function in silos and in separation from each other — I am thinking here of Youth ministries in churches and Campus Ministries in universities. There is very little connection, dialogue or communication between the youth pastors/workers of the local CRC churches in Toronto with me, for instance. Although I am trying to slowly change that. I got a Youth Pastor on my supervising committee and trying to network with other Youth Pastors in the area. I make myself available to speak to the Youth Groups on request.
I think there are good reasons for greater co-operation — to see campus ministry and youth ministry as part of a bigger team of developing our Christian youth into strong Christian disciples and eventually Christian leaders. Instead, I find we are two silos working independently of each other. And after the youth graduates from the local youth group — leave to a secular university, for instance — there's little follow-up or referral to the campus ministry. I, for instance, cannot remember when a youth pastor alerted me to an incoming student for me to connect with. I have been campus minister now for 10 years.
Now, I realize we can expand this question/topic beyond these two ministries — there's also the challenge/question of how I can co-operate better with churches in terms of referring graduating university students to local churches.
Do Youth Ministry folks think this is a good idea? Do you think that there should be greater co-operation between youth workers and campus ministers? If yes, how do you think that might look like? If no, why not?
Thanks for the reply! Yes - social media can be a way to build better networks between the various ministries/silos! The potential is there but we aren't doing it yet. Just this CRC network alone - we are still having silos here - youth ministry forums, disability forums, leadership forums, church planting forums, campus ministry forums, etc. I hope I am proven wrong, but I think there's still silos even in the virtual world! People are still mainly talking within their own ranks. It happens all over the internet.
I totally agree with you that youth needs to be given leadership roles in church - a sign of whether someone actually belongs or is accepted into community is when they are allowed to lead/serve in some capacity, and not only being served or ministered to. This goes across the board - to youth, to seniors, to people with disabilities, to women, to ethnic minorities, etc. When these people are allowed to serve the community with their gifts and not only receiving ministry from the community, that is a true sign that they are an authentic part of the community, and not merely "customers" or marginal to the community.
God bless you too Ken.
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