This Way to Youth Ministry

This evening I wrapped up my long trek through Duffy Robbins’ book This Way to Youth Ministry. It is an academic book published by Youth Specialties and is definitely intended for a youth ministry class setting. Nevertheless, even after 8 years in full-time youth ministry, I am always up for a refresher course, so I undertook the almost 600-page book. It is an in-depth look at a theological framework for healthy, biblical youth ministry, and it reminded me why I got into youth ministry, and why I am passionate about it to this day. In his conclusion, Duffy says:

“It never ceases to amaze me: when I am out on the road, training youth workers in the field, I am always blown away by their eagerness to learn. They come early, leave late, take notes, hang around, and ask questions. Their attitude is basically, ‘Fill my cup; I lift it up …’

“But then when I give my students back at Eastern University – wonderful people, mind you – exactly the same information, they are somewhat nonplussed by it all. The sense of urgency just is not as real there in the intro class. Instead of ‘Fill my cup,’ some guy in the back of the classroom raises his hand, looks at me earnestly and asks, ‘Is this going to be on the test?'”

He then goes on to talk about the ignorant state of bliss, the unconscious incompetence, that is an accurate description of those who have never been out in the field. Having been in youth ministry for a lot of years now, I am one who understands the value and practicality of contributions such as Duffy’s, and understands the importance of continuously sharpening my youth ministry tools. As Duff says, “There is nothing like combat to get you interested in how your rifle works!” We’re never beyond learning!

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