Building Capacity in Youth

Brad M. Griffin | Mar 24, 2011

One of the fun things about working at FYI is the incredible folks we get to interact with and serve alongside. Yesterday Michael Mata stopped by our office. Michael teaches in our Urban Youth Ministry Certificate program and is a transformational youth development expert with World Vision U.S.

I feel like every time Im with Michael I learn something new. Yesterday we were talking about youth development and capacity building, and he mentioned the Innovation Center for Community & Youth Development. Turns out they have all kinds of free resources accessible online for folks interested in engaging kids in service and social justice.

Heres one new thing I learned from browsing their reports: In their research on connecting with youth to create change in communities, the following four strategies tend to make civic activism organizations (I think you could insert youth ministries concerned about justice in there) successful in engaging youth:

  • Build young peoples connections to their own identity, culture, and community
  • Recognize that young people are assets to and experts about their own communities
  • Engage young people as community leaders on issues that matter to them
  • Bring young people and adults together to work as equal partners

I love the positive framing and approach to kids in this kind of language. Maybe we can learn more in youth ministry in all kinds of contexts from the work of folks focused on community capacity building.

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, writer, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of over a dozen books, including 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and Can I Ask That? Brad and his family live in Southern California, where he serves as Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries at Mountainside Communion.


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