A video compiled remembering Jake Hiemstra
My name is Ron deVries, and I will be your next Youth Ministry guide. I am privileged to walk alongside incredibly gifted Youth Leaders from across Northern Alberta, and have engaged in conversations about youth ministry with passionate people in many corners of the denomination.
Youth Ministry has been messy. It’s a new focus in the life of a congregation, arising less than 150 years ago, gaining significant momentum in the last 50 years. Recent changes in culture are also redefining what it means to be youth pastors. So what is the way forward?
The truth is, I don’t know what to tell them. I think “finding your identity in Christ” is a starting point, but the particulars of how that looks in everyday life are a very different story—which isn’t a very pretty, wrapped-with-a-bow answer to hand middle and high schoolers.
What books reflecting the Reformed world-and-life view might you recommend for teens?
Our generation is so quickly drawn to skepticism and cynicism. Not that taking our time to make good decisions is a bad thing, or that healthy lives is an unhealthy way to live, but maybe it’s not what Jesus had in mind.
There’s no doubt about it. Many youth in this generation are leaving the church. But what if we looked at this as an opportunity instead of an outrage? What if it’s not the person of Jesus Christ that these students are running away from, but rather the claustrophobic nature of our churches’ four-walled worship?
I’m not going to pretend like I can relate to you as a youth pastor. I don’t have kids yet, and I don’t have the level of commitments you do as parents. But how about this? I’m a pastor, and sometimes us pastors get so caught up in “doing God stuff” that we forget to “participate in God stuff.”
When and where does the teaching of the catechism take place in your church? Do you have a separate class for it or teach it through your youth group program? At what age(s) do you teach the catechism? If your church does not have a formal catechism class, how and where is the catechism learned?
Can I first just say, I totally feel you. You may not realize this, but us youth pastors and your teachers LOVE summer. We too like lighter schedules and laying at the beach. But how about this? This year could be a new beginning for you!
Besides numbers of youth in attendance, how does your church evaluate whether or not your youth group ministry is successful?
We have a small youth group and have thought about joining with another church to have a joint youth ministry program. Has your church done this? How did it work with finances, leadership, etc.?
When I tell people in the CRC what I do for a living, I tend to get the same question in response: Why? And I get it. I recently took a position developing a new project for the denomination: LEAP. Does the CRC need another program to solve problems that are certainly not programmatic?