Learning how to use the resources we are given for Kingdom purposes was the focus of the 2017 Youth Worker Academy held at the Living Waters Retreat Center at Lake Poinsett.
Kenda Creasy Dean, of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, led 17 participants through an interactive process. Teams of participants where given three issues and three resources from a deck of cards. Each team had to pick one of the three issues and make a plan of how best to use the resources to help impact the issue chosen.
“The idea is to utilize the resources we have for Kingdom purposes,” said Pastor Jeff Lathrop, Dakotas Conference coordinator of youth ministry and pastor at Huron First UMC.
“I loved it, there was a lot of new and different information,” said Brenda Swanson, youth director at Spearfish United Methodist Church. “The idea of entrepreneurial ministry is something I had never been exposed to before.”
In an entrepreneurial ministry model, youth are encouraged to come up with an idea and how to find that idea. A mission or outreach ministry is organized strategically like a nonprofit business model. Dean shared an approach to youth ministry that places the idea of mission at its core and offered a wealth of concrete suggestions for inspiring teens to live more authentically engaged Christian lives.
Kenda Creasy Dean is an ordained United Methodist minister and Professor of Youth, Church and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary, where she works closely with the Institute for Youth Ministry. A graduate of Miami University (Ohio), Kenda and her husband Kevin taught at Ball State University before attending Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Before receiving her PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary, she was a pastor and campus minister in Maryland. She has two almost-launched children, and lives with her family in Princeton, New Jersey. She has written several books about youth ministry including, Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church, which investigates why American teenagers are at once so positive about Christianity and at the same time so apathetic about genuine religious practice.