A New Vision for Youth Ministry?

Men and women ask my advice on my 40+ years of student ministry as to the approach of a direction in this season of life called the “COVID Pandemic.”  And I have responded many times that I never had my church shut down on Sunday, let alone the schools, and our world has come to a level of paranoia as we have had in the last 18 months. The needs and issues of adolescents in our world have never faced this kind of trauma. As we strive to enter another questionable year of mask/no mask, in-person/online school, we have to pivot to where we point our compass to focus our student ministries?

With this said, I believe we have to accept that we, as youth leaders and workers, are writing new chapters to Doug Field’s book My First Two Years of Youth Ministry.  It’s about how to refocus & renew the methodology of reaching today’s youth.

To that point, I would encourage us to look at the massively untouched area of foster teens.  Here in Arizona, there are group homes around every church in the metro Phoenix area.  Want to grow your youth ministry?  Find out those homes around your church and learn to serve them, and you can immediately have new growth. 

Hmmm, sounds Biblical.

James 1:27 –  “the purest religion is caring for the widows and orphans.” 

I believe in nearly every state; faith-based organizations strive to engage with foster kids of all ages.  Many get fostered and adopted as young babies and early childhood, but adolescents are passed over in fear of emotional dysfunction.  Many would say, “who wants the deeply emotional, mental, and physical damage of a teen boy or girl.”

For years I have been excited to be a part of the planning & executing of TRAC (teen reach adventure camps for foster teens (boys & girls camp separately).  This camp is unlike any traditional youth camp and shares the love of Jesus in incredible ways with those who have been most vulnerable.  

If you or your church would be interested in reaching this at-risk growing population in our communities right around your local church, feel free to reach out to me at bob@youthlinkministries.org

Bob Dunn is the Executive Director of Youth Link Ministries in Phoenix, Arizona

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