How do we balance doing student ministry with teaching Theology? Amy Jacober offers some great insight concerning this question in her latest article in YouthWorer. To sum up the article, she says in closing:
Theology takes time and effort. A lack of focus on this has resulted in a plethora of well intended, sincere-hearted but shallow at best and dangerous at worst teachings and leadings across denominational lines.
It is important to note that it is not because youth ministers are incapable or lazy. Rather, in the fast-paced world of the dynamic lives of adolescents, youth ministers find themselves lacking in time, skills, knowledge and a point of entry to do much beyond what they are already doing.
Theology was never intended to be an irrelevant exercise in academic gymnastics. It is our faith, guided by the questions of our day, seeking understanding from God. For the youth minister, these are the questions which arise from looking closer at the lives and culture of the adolescents whom we are called to serve, whom we love and whom we know.
Our students need to know, and understand, theological truths. Student ministry needs to be more than just fun times; if we are not teaching them the Truth, then we mind as well close up shop. Likewise, we need to be sure that the Truth we are teaching is lived out in flesh-n-bone (i.e. authentic relationships).
How do you balance teaching theology and doing student ministry? Is practical theology apart of your student ministry? If it’s not, how come?