Student ministry is something that is always changing and growing and, because of that, there is a lot of discussion related to what the best model is for people that want to follow as a part of their youth ministry. Mentoring and discipleship are often mentioned, but learning how to add these to a youth ministry in an effective manner can be difficult and it can take time and effort to figure out how you can make it happen.
Discipleship and mentoring are incredibly important in a youth context. Nowadays, many parents “outsource” spiritual formation and growth to groups such as youth ministries instead of doing the process at home. Because of this phenomenon, it is more important than ever that youth workers are equipped to be both friends and mentors to the students that they work with. This is a balance that can be hard to achieve, but with work and devotion, it can be done.
In many youth ministries, youth workers are not trained to be mentors. On the contrary, youth workers receive very little training, and what training they get are usually in the form of books and/or MP3’s. These can be valuable resources, but many people don’t have the time necessary to read a book. A rule of life, sometimes referred to as a regula, will utilize a more experience-based method of training youth workers, as opposed to the “brain-based” method that is out there. An experiential method can not only help volunteer and paid youth workers learn how to disciple the students that they are working with, but it also will help the youth workers be consistent in their own spiritual walk and formation.
Many youth ministries have been working toward this goal, allowing them to connect more and making it so that youth feel more comfortable in regards to what may be going on in their lives. Finding time to work with teenagers and to help make their lives better is important, and even more so in the church that is working in today’s world.