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Monday, June 13, 2005

Spiritual Formation in Youth Ministry

Okay Matt Tapie...you've convinced me to cross over to the dark side of blogging.

I doubt many people who don't know me will find this blog, but just in case, my name is Bret Wells. I am currently a Youth Minister in Dallas, TX.

I was talking with a friend today about ministry and my interest in developing a Spiritual Formation approach to youth ministry. Matt, who also ministers in the area of Sp. Form. suggested I start a blog with this very topic in mind...

Since I am in Abilene taking a short course on the book of Romans, I don't think it would be wise to spend an insane amount of time spelling out my thoughts at this time. But never fear, my ability to ramble on about this topic is matched only by my skill in consuming large amounts of Mexican food.

As a quick introduction to the issue I'd like to begin the written conversation on a couple basic questions I've been wrestling with over the last 4 or 5 years.

What should we be striving to accomplish in youth ministry if we are going to claim be a legitimate part of the ministry of the Church?

What is Spiritual Formation and how does it relate to adolescence?

Do the classic spiritual disciplines have a place in the life of a youth ministry? In the personal lives of teenagers? Of those who work with teens?

What is changing/ has changed that might precipitate a new approach to Student Minstries? How can we anticipate changing needs so as not to be stuck in a reactive mentality?

I may never get to all of these questions on this blog. I feel like I've made some progress on some of these questions. Others...not so much. However, I am finding that I'm not alone in this conversation. Tony Jones and Mark Yaconelli have both done some great work in this area. I also have a group of friends in the Dallas area that are very interested in helping their respective youth ministries (plus 1 parachurch ministry, Wonder Voyage, which leads hundreds of teens on Pilgrimages each summer) develop an appreciation for spiritual disciplines, contemplative Christian thought and Sp. Form. in general. Thankfully I've even begun to discover several contacts within my own specific corner of the Body, the churches of Christ.

I have drawn deeply from the experiences and ministry wisdom of my Episcopal, Assembly of God, Catholic, etc., friends and hope to continue to do so. However, I do hope that at the same time, the Lord will also direct me toward more conversation partners within Restoration circles.

I also hope that this blog spot will provide opportunities for discussion regarding these topics. But for now...back to Romans.

1 comment:

Matt Tapie said...

Bret you rule! Thanks for taking me to the deep wells.
matt