The Farminary is where the question of human action receives the answer of divine grace… I take young people to the Farminary not because I see God there, but because I trust that when we “grasp with empty hands,” God discovers us there. And there’s a lot we can learn there that we could never learn from reading old, dead theologians under florescent lights.
About Wes Ellis
Wes Ellis is a Member in Discernment in the United Church of Christ and an M.Div. student at Princeton Theological Seminary. He has served in youth ministry and adult Christian education in UCC, UMC, and PCUSA settings, as well as evangelical ministry settings. He is passionate about theology and youth ministry and is convinced that the two belong to each other.
Entries by Wes Ellis
There is one reason that youth workers really should be reading and doing theology, and it’s the same reason every child of God should be doing theology—to participate in the life and being of God in lived experience and in the lives of others.
If youth ministry wants young people to know God, then instead of proving God’s existence and offering immanent answers to immanent questions, and instead of training young people to win arguments with their peers (and their teachers too, sometimes), perhaps it should engage in the practice of friendship and teach young people to be good friends.
In our concern over objects and verification, we were only haunted, at best, by the subject outside the conversation (namely, God)… Even though I thought I was introducing my teammate to God by offering explanations for everything, I was pretty much just rearranging the furniture.
I would like to suggest that having the answer to every question is not, in fact, the win, but the problem… Even though I “won” the argument with my teammate, he remained an atheist and I remained arrogantly protected from his doubts and concerns. We talked a whole lot about God, but nothing in our debate was open to an encounter with God.
Reading is a responsibility we have as youth workers. Whatever you do decide to read, may you continue to learn and to discern your role in God’s ministry to the world—especially to the young people in your life.
Does it ever feel like burnout is just on the horizon? Like maybe even one more bowling night or mission trip would be all you could handle before you just can’t take any more? Ministry can be detrimentally exhausting, and it’s not just because there’s never enough coffee to get you through that Jr. High […]
The most important thing you can do to help young people “learn theology”—indeed one of the most important things you can do as a minister to young people—is read the Bible with them.
I fell for the lie that there’s a correlation between being really busy and being a good minister. The fact is, the opposite it true. Ministry does not come from filling our calendars with many things. Ministry comes from the space we leave empty…
Spiritual practices are ways in which God’s action is placed in the drivers’ seat. They remind us that ministry does not depend on us.
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