Since Advent 2012 I have been Youth Minister at St. Aidan Anglican Church, Moose Jaw, SK. The purpose of youth ministry at St. Aidan is to foster mature faith in our young people, and to equip them to become mature participants in the life and ministry of the parish. Our focus is spiritual formation and community-building, seeking to help young people to grow deep roots in the Church and to understand the importance and challenge of cruciform living. Our goal is not merely to entertain; it is rather to walk with the young people of St. Aidan (and those from other churches who make this youth group their own) as we learn together what it means to follow Christ in all areas of our lives. Our life together is focused by three “seriouses”:
Taking God seriously: Each week we spend a significant amount of time reading and discussing scripture, praying together and learning to pray, and challenging ourselves and each other to follow Jesus.
Taking each other seriously: As a Christian community of young people, we want to learn to appreciate who each other are, how we can support each other, and to learn to see Christ in each other.
Taking our tradition seriously: The youth ministry year is structured according to the Christian Year, shaping our time together by the “big questions” of each season. We regularly celebrate and learn from the lives of the saints, feast days, liturgical rites, creeds, and spiritual disciplines within the Anglican tradition (such as compline prayer), and enjoy opportunities to hear from notable voices in our region, such as those of our bishop, priest, and local theologians and scholars from a nearby college.
At the center of this ministry is a desire to see young people reimagine their lives in light of Jesus’ resurrection -- to call them into a life of following after Jesus, and to discover together what it takes to do so in the midst of regular, everyday living.
Our group consists of about 15-20 young people, grades 6-12. Our leadership team is made up of 6 people: myself, 4 volunteer youth leaders, and my wife who assists me with a lot of the day-to-day administration. Our group meets weekly on Tuesday nights from September to June. Now in our third year, one of our greatest challenges has been to keep connected to the young people in our group as it grows in number. We’ve been finding ways to involve each other in each other’s lives outside of the formally-scheduled youth nights. E.g., One of our volunteer youth leaders joined a local elementary school’s chess club where some of our young people attend. My wife and I have started inviting smaller groups of young people for Friday suppers in our home. Opening our lives to one another has allowed us to share in both the good and difficult things life brings.
I would love to connect with you if you are working with young people in your parish. If you are looking for resources to use in your ministry, I regularly post the materials I create for my own youth group at http://www.getliturgized.ca. You can find me online at https://twitter.com/lukenjohnson and firstname.lastname@example.org.