To better live out the North Alabama Conference priority of Empowering a New Generation, the North Alabama Conference Office of Connectional Ministries contracted with Youth Ministry Architects to do an assessment of North Alabama Conference youth ministry as well as provide recommendations and a suggested timeline for the future of conference initiatives in youth ministry in North Alabama.
On March 8-9, 2010, Mark DeVries (who was one of the featured speakers at Annual Conference 2009) and his co-worker Missy Carfield, a youth pastor from Venice, Florida, spent three days in listening sessions with North Alabama leaders in youth ministry. The focus groups included senior ministers, youth directors, Sumatanga representatives, the Conference Youth Ministry Leadership team, Wesley Foundation Directors, the Cabinet and numerous others who have a heart for youth ministry. Over the two days they interviewed 53 people in 11 focus groups.
During the time in North Alabama DeVries explained that Youth Ministry throughout the nation seems to be in a period of chaos and turmoil. He noted that even ministries like Youth Specialties, a long-time leader in providing resources and training for Youth Ministry, has experienced some stress in trying to reorganize around the new cultural environment for ministry in the 21st century.
On Wednesday evening, March 10, Mark DeVries presented Youth Ministry Architects report. It includes the assets and challenges identified, along with recommendations and a proposed timeline for these recommendations.
North Alabama Conference Director of Connectional Ministries Rev. Dale Cohen says, “We must strengthen Youth Ministry throughout the annual conference and we see Youth Ministry Architects as a valuable partner in helping us get to where we need to be. The report they prepared is comprehensive and provides an excellent blueprint for developing a more sustainable Youth Ministry. Although we are going to have to work to come up with the necessary resources to fund the implementation of this process, we are committed to doing whatever it takes to see that we get this process moving forward as quickly as possible.
“The timeline in the report indicates an immediate start, however we may need a couple of months to secure the financial resources, but we’re not interested in waiting long,“ Cohen adds. “We would also like to have some time to receive feedback on this report as we prepare to move ahead.”
You can download the entire report (as a PDF file) below.