New Jersey Synod Youth Ministry
God is crazy-in-love with young people: children, teens, young adults - God loves ‘em all! God is alive in, and works through, young people. Don’t believe it? Read the Bible. Look around you.
In the New Jersey Synod we seek to be a church that loves young people with the love of Jesus and walk with them as they grow in faith and lead lives of Christian servanthood. We do this first and foremost in our congregations. We also do this through synodical youth events and training opportunities, and by helping connect them with the wider church and God-in-the-world!
Please contact our Youth Ministry Team Leader if your congregation would like an assessment of its youth ministry, help in dealing with a particular problem relating to youth ministry, or are looking for new ways to strengthen and grow the faith lives of the young people in your congregation and community.
Information regarding our synod’s youth ministry events can be found here. Support and training opportunities for adults involved in youth ministry can be found here.
Unleashing the passion of young people (15-29 year olds) in your church
On January 1, 2020, did you expect the year to go the way it has? Each one of us has needed to get creative to connect with our churches, our synod, and each other. You’ve learned how to Zoom, to setup conference calls, and to live-stream worship and bible studies. Connecting people together while following Jesus has shown us how people, not buildings, are the church. Engaging with, and for, each other is part of what we do. And you have a chance to intentionally choose to connect with the teenagers and young adults who are the church.
In early August, nearly 20 pastors, congregational leaders, and people committed to youth ministry in the NJ Synod participated in Growing Young, a training to help us unleash the passions of young people in our church. Young people are more than just bodies in the pews. When they are engaged, the vitality and spiritual maturity of our congregations grows. The whole church benefits when young people claim their identity as beloved children of God. And so it's the responsibility of the entire church to innovate, change, and become new through the good news of Jesus embodied in young folks.
We invite you to start your church to grow young by reading “Growing Young: 6 Essential Strategies to help young people discover and love your church.” You’ll learn how to create leaders, embrace empathy, share Jesus, strengthen relationships, be best neighbors, and how to prioritize young people in every area of the church. Each chapter includes case studies from a variety of churches (large and small) with practical suggestions on what you can do now to better engage young people. Invite your leadership to read the book with you or work with nearby Lutheran churches to form a cohort. Every church, at any size and budget, will benefit from this book.
The NJ Synod Team who participated in this training will be working over the next year to help your faith community grow young. In a time of increased uncertainty, strained budgets, and unknown futures, it might seem daunting to try something new right now. But we believe you’ve already been doing so many new things this year that have already laid the groundwork to engage your community in deeper ways. You continue to faithfully follow Jesus and we’re so grateful for the work you’re already doing. Let’s enhance what we’re doing by making sure all our relationships, especially with young people, are being handled faithfully and fully.
If you plan to read the book, let the team know by sending an email to email@example.com. We’re praying for you and we can’t wait to see how, with the Spirit’s help, we’ll all grow young.
Youth Ministry Mission Team
Our synod has a Youth Ministry Mission Team which helps provide oversight and direction for our synodical youth ministry offerings. Many thanks to all who serve on this Team!
Debra Porowski (Faith, Hillsborough), LEADER
Congregational Training Opportunities
Boundaries and Safety Training- The care and safety of children and young people are of paramount concern to our church. Your congregation should have a regularly updated Congregational Safety Policy that includes sections specifically relating to children and youth. If you would like help in crafting or updating such a policy or would like to hold a Boundaries and Safety Training for your congregation, please contact the office to help you in this matter.