Cross-Cultural Youth Ministry Objectives

Kara Powell | Nov 2, 2009

Photo by Andrew Butler

Much of the time research gives us good language for what we are already somewhat intuitively doing. It helps make explicit that which is implicit in our philosophy or practices.

Last week I received the results of a dissertation by Paul Kelly in which he surveyed 102 youth ministry practitioners in 27 countries from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, and North America.

Seven youth ministry objectives were consistently rated as essential for youth ministry with middle adolescents. They are:

  1. Disciple youth to follow Christ in every area of their lives;
  2. Teach youth to see Christianity as a relationship with Jesus Christ;
  3. Guide youth to build faith that will last for a lifetime;
  4. Disciple youth to the point that they can disciple others;
  5. Lead youth to repent and turn to faith in Christ for their salvation;
  6. Guide youth to spend time with Jesus in prayer and Bible study as a way of developing their relationship with him;
  7. As youth leaders, be honest, genuine, and sincere in relating to youth.

I don’t think there’s anything particularly shocking about this list, but according to Dr. Kelly, what was interesting was the degree of agreement even in the midst of surveying leaders from 27 nations.

You might want to try evaluating your ministry in light of these 7 objectives. In which are you most strong? Where are you weakest?

What’s missing from this list that you think should be added?

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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