Youth Ministry: Basics and Spirituality

I’ve been trying to be in dialogue with our youth leaders for the last couple of years about cultivating more spiritual practices at our Wednesday night gatherings. Books like Mark Yaconelli’s Contemplative Youth Ministry and Mike King’s Presence-Centered Youth Ministry have been helpful in sparking conversation, as well as of course, Kenda Dean’s books, particularly her last one Almost Christian. And there are the books that have been encouraging to me lately everything from the collection on spiritual disciplines, and some on prayer.

For me, this is about going to back to the basics, not only with youth, but within my own faith journey. I grew up indoctrinated by various groups to live out my faith a specific way – “quiet times” through Young Life, and ┬áthe Topical Memory System through Navigators, and small groups by everything else. These aren’t terrible in and of themselves, in fact, quiet times taught me prayer and Bible study, and the TMS was helpful for meditation on Scripture…but I felt like my experience was narrow and limited.

I can’t remember when I picked up Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, but that was eye-opening to read about practices that were present in the church for thousands of years. Later I discovered lectio divina and other ways of reading/meditating on scripture, and am loving creative ways of cultivating spirituality in myself…and in youth.