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Called to Youth Ministry

Our Youth Ministry Cohort Coaching Program is recruiting a new cohort of youth ministers! If you'd like to be part of this program, read on for more information, watch this video and fill out the inquiry form below.

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children." Deuteronomy 6:4-7

"Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved." Matthew 9:17

"If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea." Mark 9:42

The Reality

Youth ministry education and theological frameworks for ministering to young people have been growing over the last several decades, and important and compelling youth ministry books have been published, university programs have been developed and conferences have abounded making a significant impact on youth ministry. Yet, in all our efforts to do youth ministry well, we are currently facing a youth ministry crises. The College Transition Project has determined that 50 percent of kids who were deeply involved in their church's youth ministry program will walk away from their faith after their first year in college. The Pew Research Center has discovered that the fastest growing denomination in America to date  is "nones" - young people who identify as religiously unaffiliated, atheist, agnostic or "nothing in particular". Giving your seniors a graduation Bible and a new college devotional book and hoping for the best just isn’t cutting it.

The future of youth ministry requires a youth worker that is not only aware of the dynamics that affect ministry to the young; they must thoughtfully and theologically engage them head-on, recognizing that the day of gathering kids in in the cool new youth building or inviting them over to your comfortable living room and getting them to sing, play games and listen to a clever talk (regardless of how well delivered it is) no longer guarantees lifelong spiritual interest, much less transformation.

There are three major issues that have been the center of youth ministry discourse over the last 4-5 years:

  1. Youth ministry's long term effectiveness: We are losing kids once they leave our ministry programs (50% to be exact).
  2. The concern that people in contemporary culture, including an increasing number of young people, have written off traditional faith: The rise of the "nones" is one example, and there is ample evidence that great numbers of adolescents and emerging adults have a negative view of the church and want nothing to do with us, meaning us the institutional church. (A must read book by David Kinnaman,  You Lost Me…Why young Christians are Leaving the Church and Re-thinking Faith)
  3. The widespread recognition of dramatic cultural and global changes over the past few decades: We have experienced change unlike any other time in history. Changes in technology, social media, climate, economics, gender issues, race struggles and politics have left young people confused, afraid and wondering if youth ministry or their church have any answers.

These changes not only affect how we do ministry, but also who we do ministry with – primarily adolescents and their families.

What We Are Doing

Below is a summary of the ways the Youth Ministry Calling Community is stepping into this challenge.

  1. Youth Advisory Board: We have formed a Youth Advisory Board and meet regularly to determine how we can start to make a change and engage youth ministers to think about the future of youth ministry. We are starting first in thegreaterSpokane area and then then the Inland Northwest.
    1. Brad Hauge – 1st Presbyterian
    2. Jason Soucinek – Project Six19
    3. Kelsey Weller – Summit Church
    4. Brandon Comella – Millwood Presbyterian
    5. Kyle Kingsley – Marabou Chapel Valley
    6. Tanya Huber – Young Life
    7. Rodney McAuley – YFC
    8. Kenney Bahr – North Church
  2. United: A monthly gathering of local youth pastors and youth workers from church and parachurch ministries for a lunch and discussion. We have used grant money to bring in speakers and provide a lunch to help encourage, train and build friendship. We are also in the process of creating a United website that will provide a place to connect and see what is happening in our ministries.
  3. Growth Groups: We have selected three areas of greater Spokane and appointed three growth group leaders who have gathered the youth pastors from each area around book discussions and sharing. Grant money has purchased books and food.
  4. Youth Ministry Cohort Coaching Program: This is a whole-life coaching program rooted in leadership development, personal and professional growth, and wholeness. We have partnered with The Youth Cartel and are developing ministry cohorts of 10-11 youth ministers and youth workers who will meet for an entire year for six, two-day sessions. The trainer is veteran youth ministry expert Mark Oestreicher who was the president of Youth Specialties for eight years and is now the director of The Youth Cartel, which is one of the most inventive ministries in resources, training and coaching youth ministry into the future.

More Details of the Cohort Coaching Program

The Youth Ministry Coaching Program is designed to provide both an opportunity for critical reflection and discussion of youth ministry issues, but also to provide a safe place to experience holistic growth. We believe this cohort/coaching model will surpass the training that can be offered by seminars and conferences and be more integrative than formal education. This is due to the structure of the program:

  • A small cohort of 10-11: The size allows accountability, safety, emotional honesty and shared experience, helping to develop life-long peer relationships of trust and accountability.
  • Read books: In preparation for every gathering, a book will be read and discussed, and cohort members will determine actions steps for their lives and ministries.
  • Teaching and content: Teaching is shared around thoughtful youth ministry, dialogue and real-life application with people who are all in the ministry and wanting to grow.
  • Customized coaching: Each participant will have ten one-half hour personalized coaching sessions around their specific needs for personal and professional development.
  • Spiritual direction: Each participant will have five one-hour sessions with trained spiritual directors.

Participants

We have selected our first cohort for 2019, and we begin Feb. 11-12.

  • Jose Ceniceros – Life Center/YFC
  • Carter Hudson – New Community
  • Tegan Brindley – 1st Presbyterian
  • Kyle Kingsley – Maribeau Chapel
  • Brandon Comella – Milwood Presbyterian
  • Jenna Henniger – Cup of Cool Water
  • Kenney Bahr – North Church
  • Jackson Lino – World Relief/Youth Choir
  • Jesse Richner – Eastpoint Church
  • CJ Peterson – Young Life, North Spokane

Over the next two years, interested candidates can apply or will be asked to be part of the program.

To apply, fill out the inquiry form below.

Questions? Contact Kent McDonald at kmcdonald@whitworth.edu

Inquiry Form