Sunday, November 20, 2011

Highlight - Day 2 NYWC Atlanta

In what places or environments have you seen students connect with the Divine?

It’s a question posed at the theological forum at the National Youth Worker’s Convention. Yes, youth workers thinking about and engaging theology is kind of important. Maybe not expected but very important.

By definition “theology” simply means “God / Word”, the study of God. In many ways those of us who have a passion to see students connect to God and know him passionately are theologians. Whether we know it or not we develop a theology of student ministry hoping to connect students to the Divine.

The panel consisted of people I’ll call “real theologians”. Sure, we are all theologians whether we like it or not, but these men and women actually have credentials.

The panel included Andrew Root, Cheryl Crawford, Jim Hampton, Kenda Creasy Dean, Adam English and Kara Powell. Yes, that’s some serious brainpower.

The room was standing room only as these youth workers really have a desire to learn about “The interaction between human and divine action.” To be honest it just seems like a fancy way to discuss how students connect with God. It was encouraging to see youthworkers who may be perceived as shallow and good at games eager to learn and interact at a little deeper level.

So, back to the question at hand, “In what places or environments have you seen students connect with the divine?”

The panel had some great answers. Here’s what I jotted down.

· In the wilderness where students can interact with creation

· In community as they see God work in and through those around them

· Working with people with disabilities (this surprised me but I loved it)

· Service and working towards battling injustice

· In worship, actually knowing and understanding the words they are singing

· Brokenness and suffering

· In Scripture, seeing themselves in the story and finding what God says to them

It’s a great discussion. Is there any greater calling for a youth worker than to work towards connecting students with God? At the end of the day after all the smoke settles that’s the purest form of student ministry.

How have you seen students connect with the Divine? There are those special times when the space between heaven and earth is a little thinner. What’s your experience?


  1. That's a great list.
    I would add using their gifts for God's glory to the list. I've got a kid who loves doing lighting during worship, and it is certainly a way for him to connect with God.

  2. Yeah, I have to agree. The reality is most student ministry people don't think through helping students discover, develop and utilize their gifts.

    It's really hard work to press towards a student led and served ministry. My friend Tim Eldred leads a ministry that focuses absolutely on this kind of stuff. He says "if a student can do it they should be doing it".

    It's pretty radical stuff