The methodology of youth ministry is perhaps the statement most finely tuned to your congregation. How you do youth ministry where you are is determined in large measure by circumstances that you do not have that much control over. If, for instance, you are in the Mid-West serving a congregation that is in a relatively small town in the middle of the agricultural belt, chances are you will have certain times of year that will not find you doing what your counterpart on the West Coast would be doing. Your kids are busy with harvest; your scheduling—your method for achieving that sense of community in your youth group—will change to meet the needs of your kids.
There is a wealth of youth ministry resources and materials available that address the issues of methodology. The ideas and experiences you find in these books, magazines, videos and journals come from youth ministers all over the country. This boon can become your bane, however. If you are not careful you begin to think that there is a homogeneity to adolescents in America, that there is an agreed upon youth culture, that a-kid-is-a-kid-is-a-kid. If you think about it, of course, you realize that this idea is preposterous. But when you are looking over all those resources you’d be surprised how often you forget that just because this great event got raves from so-and-so’s youth group, it doesn’t mean your kids will take to it as well.
This is where your methodology statement comes in, and why it is so crucial. It need indicate nothing more than that your youth ministry team recognizes the reality that the kids you work with are unique, and every effort will be made by the team to meet those kids on their own terms. Your methodology statement will quite likely evolve over time, whereas your other statements will not. Perhaps the kids you work with don’t have much time to give to “youth group meetings” because of prior commitments to extracurricular sports, or a job, or volunteerism. Maybe they need to study. Other activities also vie for the limited time of an adolescent. Some of those listed can demand phenomenal amounts of time from the kids, especially sports, with practices way into the evenings on weeknights, and more on the weekends. Some coaches can be really rabid when it comes to their demands on the kids on their team. But if the bulk of the kids you work with fit this description—and they probably do—your methodology statement might indicate as much.
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