Learning To Love: Thoughts On Faith Formation In Young People

aaron-burden-149692

One of the questions that seems most prevalent in youth ministry circles–outside of “how many students are in your youth group”–is how do you know if a teenager is growing in their faith?

It seems most of us long for some definable or measurable way to record faith formation. And I wonder if this quest, though often rightly motivated and sincere, is missing an invaluable piece of the puzzle.

Because maybe measuring faith isn’t something that is so easy to detect…at least not in the way we want to measure it.

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Why Camps Matter

Used with permission: https://pixabay.com/en/tent-camp-outdoor-travel-adventure-2573465/

Used with permission: https://pixabay.com/en/tent-camp-outdoor-travel-adventure-2573465/

It’s been a couple weeks since we finished our summer programming which included trips, events, and of course, camps. Towards the end of July, I had the chance to speak for a week at a camp as well. Needless to say, it’s been a busy and full summer.

Yet again, I was overwhelmed at how God uses camps to speak and guide students. After twelve years of youth ministry (with lots of camps and retreats), I’m convinced now, more than ever, of the importance and necessity of camps.

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The Sweet Spot in Youth Ministry: Students Leading Students

used with permission: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/compass-1-1420922

used with permission: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/compass-1-1420922

Something special happens when students are given leadership opportunities. I’ve been a big believer in this for many years, seeking out ways to equip and empower students.

Like many things in life and ministry, good thoughts are not enough to make it happen. It takes an intentionality to make it work. Here are some thoughts on working with student leaders.

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This Election And Its Impact On Students

Used with permission: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/american-flag-1150851

Used with permission: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/american-flag-1150851

I feel like I’m late to the game when it comes to saying something–scratch that–ANYTHING about the upcoming election. This has been intentional on my part, not because I’m worried about anyone disagreeing with me, but because I didn’t know how to approach the subject.

Honestly, and I know I’m not alone here, I’m not a fan of either candidate. I know supporters on both sides and I figured I’d write something from the perspective of what I am–a youth pastor. So, here are some thoughts as a youth pastor on what I’ve heard and observed from my students about this upcoming election.

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