Josh and Danny have written some stuff about youth ministry education, and since it’s something that is close to my own heart (I’m a youth ministry professor), I felt the urge to write about the subject.
Josh brings up some great points about business principles that are used in youth ministry. Management, Budget and finances, public speaking, and other business practices are important in youth ministry.
He says that many of these things may not be included in a typical youth ministry degree, but I know they are included (at least partially) in the youth ministry degree program I teach at the Mexican Baptist Theological Seminary (and in the Master’s in Youth Ministry program in Cuba). I also know many professors and directors of youth ministry programs throughout the world whose programs include many of those principles.
Now, I know that Josh isn’t bashing youth ministry degrees, and I’m not against business degrees. I walked into a Christian bookstore the other day and told Janell that there wasn’t really anything in there on my list of books to read because most of the books on my wishlist are about business, marketing, or culture. But that might be because I feel I need to “self-educate” in those areas. Or maybe it’s because those are areas I feel need attention in ministry. Diversity is key.
Danny talks about the benefits of his psychology degree, and I agree that it helps to understand why people do what they do as we minister to them. He makes a great suggestion to serve in a church while going to school. I agree. That’s why most good youth ministry programs require that you serve in youth ministry alongside an experienced youth worker who will mentor you and share with you everyday experiences as we strive to disciple young people.
Overall, I believe in youth ministry education. My youth ministry degree has served me time and time again in real-life ministry as I walk alongside young people. I have also seen results of youth ministry training programs in the lives of my own students. Let’s not throw out the options for youth ministry degrees.
Business principles, psychology, Biblical and theological studies, and even missions courses are all essential for youth workers. The key to education is to realize that it’s never finished. You can’t say, “I’ve finished my degree so I can stop learning.” Good youth workers will always seek ways to keep improving themselves. Good youth ministry programs at seminaries and Bible colleges are always seeking to improve and adapt curriculum to stay up to date with the needs of youth workers.
What do you think?
(Photo by: My New Winter Coat)