St Albans Church

Youth 101 Back to Basics

In March 2014, St. Albans youth minister, Zack Ingles and a host of other youth workers from Ottawa joined the Anglican Diocese of Montreal for their Youth 101 workshop series. Below is a reflection from Elizabeth Robertson, MTL Youth Team:

"It’s tempting, when working with young people, to get caught up in a whirlwind of planning and programming and projects. It makes sense; these are tangible, measurable ways of spending time with our youth. We can put them on a calendar and list them in the parish bulletin and say, “look, we have a youth program!” And there’s nothing wrong with activities in and of themselves. They can be a lot of fun. But surely youth ministry is more than just another extra-curricular activity. So if we take away all the bells and whistles, what’s left?

Focusing on values rather than organizing lots of activities seems like a simpler way of ministering to young people. And in some ways, it is. However a youth ministry based on values is much more difficult to measure than one based on programming. It takes courage to trust that what you’re building is important. You have to be able to withstand the internal and external pressure to be doing something all the time. Which is why it felt so good to get away for a quiet weekend together to share, reflect and pray." 

“I’ve noticed this in my own ministry, that I can have fun games and big activities planned and it’s hit or miss if people come out. But if I’m intentionally going out for coffee with people, there’s alot of power in just sitting, talking and building relationship. We’ve tried to program the heck out of youth ministry instead of actually caring about the people we’re ministering to. Even outside of youth ministry, that’s permeated into so many other areas of the church. We try to program it and perfect it instead of getting to know people and ministering to them on the most basic levels. In the end it's all about relationship”  - Zack Ingles, Youth and Young Adults Minister, St. Alban’s Church, Ottawa

Read the full article by Elizabeth Robertson here