When I was in high school, my friends and I played this game where we blindfolded a passenger and then drove them to an unfamiliar place. Once we arrived, the blindfold was removed, and that person now had to guide us back to where we started. I remember being the blindfolded person and having it removed only to see a big red barn right in from of me. I was utterly lost, and I had no clue how to get home.
I think that every person in ministry can relate to being “lost” in some aspect of their work, at one time or another. For example, if you asked me to give feedback on how to start or strengthen a worship ministry, I would be quickly lost as to what to do.
My greatest ministry passion is to see the next generation grow as followers of Christ and for them to take on leadership roles within the church. I know that I am not alone in this and, while I know there are many ministry leaders who feel competent in leading their churches toward effective youth ministry, I know there are also many who feel “lost” in getting organized for this special work.
For the last twenty-five years, all my ministry roles have had a fundamental commitment to teenagers. Fifteen years ago, CLB North American Mission extended me a part time call to help build a youth ministry network, to provide resources to youth workers and to find ways to encourage youth workers.
I have thoroughly enjoyed connecting with youth workers, providing them resources, and keeping them in the loop with opportunities within our church family. I’ve discovered that there are many who are eager to grow as youth workers. There are also many churches who don’t have a point person focused on youth ministry or they don’t have a focus on youth ministry at all. For those who might find themselves feeling a little “lost,” I hope that the rest of this post helps point you to what the CLBA is doing to encourage churches in this vital area of ministry.
Here are some of the resources that our national family of churches has made available to you and your congregation. Please take advantage of them in your work.
- The “Elevate Youth Convention” is the biennial youth convention of the CLBA for students all over North America and it is held at the YMCA Camp of the Rockies in Estes Park. For more information about this, go to www.elevateyc.org.
- We have a number of fantastic summer camp and winter retreats for teenagers that are held at Inspiration Point, Tuscarora Inn and Warm Beach Bible Camp. For more information about them, go to https://ipoint.org/ and www.tuscarora.org/ and https://biblecamprocks.com/.
- We have a synod sponsored opportunity for youth workers to go to the ORANGE conference. To learn about the current ORANGE conference opportunity, go to https://clba.org/blog/2022/05/01/orange-conference-23.
- We have a youth ministry mentoring opportunity in which a number of veteran youth workers are ready and willing to serve our churches as consultants to help you create and strengthen your ministry to teenagers. For more information about this, go to https://clba.org/youth-ministry-mentors
- We have a digital youth ministry network that includes blog posts, invitations to training events, and a host of other ideas for youth workers. Our CLB youth worker network can be found at https://clba.org/youth and at a Facebook group that you can request to join at www.facebook.com/groups/179300645354
- During our National Biennial Conventions we host an event called “Biennial Convention Continuing Education for Youth Workers”. To watch the recording from the 2022 event with Jonathan McKee, go to https://clba.org/blog/2022/06/18/jonathan-mckee-2022-convention-training
- We are currently beginning a partnership with a “Youth Ministry Consultants” as they offer webinars and cohorts to us and other likeminded churches. As we announce these opportunities, we will be offering deep discounts to attend them with a hope that they strengthen your ministries to students.
As you hear about all of these opportunities, please know that I would love to hear more from you and I am available to help you navigate the world of youth ministry. If you are not receiving any of our digital communication, please contact me!
I’d love to hear from you!
Mark Johannesen - CLB Youth Ministries Communications
Mark 10:14b – “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.…”