Youth Ministry Institute Midwest April Newsletter
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April News from Matt Vaughan

• Check out our new website
• Lunar eclipse linked to Easter
• Youth Ministry Institute in the news
• Partner Spotlight – Southminster Church
• How to support our organization

New Website

We have a new website! We hope it will be easier to navigate. But more importantly, we hope that people who have never heard of the Youth Ministry Institute will land on it and be encouraged to interact with the site by learning about our program, asking a question of a staff person, signing up for a newsletter, registering for an event, or applying to be part of Youth Ministry Institute.

We are making great progress introducing our program to churches in the Midwest. I have great hopes and confidence that we'll have an outstanding first class of students that begin at our foundational retreat on August 25. Several churches in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska are in discussions about enrolling their youth minister in Youth Ministry Institute Midwest. We appreciate your prayers for our mission: to empower youth ministers to become skilled and effective leaders.

Night and Day: Why Easter was April 20

Did you know? Last week's lunar eclipse set the date for Easter. Actually, it was the date of the full moon that scheduled Easter, and the eclipse was a beautiful coincidence. The date for Easter was set in 1583 as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox. That's why Easter can range from March 22 to April 25 in the Western Christian calendar. I captured these two pictures at 2:45am last Monday during the lunar eclipse and after worship on Sunday. Happy Easter!

The Youth Ministry Institute – in the news

In late February, an article appeared on the Faith and Leadership website entitled Mainline Protestantism and Disruptive Innovation in Youth Ministry. The authors are Ken Carter, a bishop in the United Methodist Church who received his doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary, Greg Jones, former dean of Duke Divinity School, and his wife, Susan Pendleton Jones, an associate dean at Duke Divinity School. There are many articles about youth ministry, but very few are written by professors, deans, and denominational leaders. The article is of great significance, and it directly references the work of the Youth Ministry Institute at the end of the article.

“Many congregations have all but walked away from the field (of youth ministry), allocating minimal resources to youth programs and hiring people with little theological training to lead them. To borrow from the work of Clayton Christensen, this is a classic bottom of the market scenario in which disruptive innovation occurs. As Christensen might argue, overlooked youth ministries operating out on the margins – just like small steel mills making low-grade rebar – do not remain marginal. Youth ministers mature and develop; the most effective ones are not content simply to lead small groups in abandoned church basements. While mainline churches were looking the other way, many youth ministries transitioned from small groups to larger gatherings with sophisticated music and technology to entire alternative worship services.”

“It will be no small task for pastors and judicatory leaders to rethink our practice of outsourcing – or worse, ignoring – youth ministry. But it will be equally challenging to allow new forms of worship, music, technology and community to reform us. The future of mainline Protestant witness will depend on whether we can incorporate disruptive innovation into our identity for the sake of ongoing faithful Christian witness.”

“The lack of theological education among those who serve and lead adolescents going through one of lifes most developmentally important seasons is a travesty. Approximately 70 percent of full-time youth ministers have no theological education, according to one recent survey (2009 National Congregations Survey).”

The article lists two innovative programs that are developing youth ministers. One originates from Duke and the other is the Youth Ministry Institute (although not named specifically, the accompanying link in the article is our website).

Partner Spotlight – 
Southminster Church

It's been my privilege to serve Southminster Presbyterian Church for the last eight months as its interim youth minister. I initially said "yes" in August to my longtime friend, Rev. Jeff Clayton, and I'm saying "farewell" to an entire congregation at the end of April. It's been a joy to lead this youth group and provide stability to this wonderful church during its search for an associate pastor.

Southminster Presbyterian Church is one of our local partners, and it has a tradition of excellence in youth ministry. I'll feature another partner next month.

Matt Vaughan
Thank you for your prayers and support!

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Your prayers and support are appreciated, and gifts are crucial to our mission. 
Visit our online giving page to support Youth Ministry Institute Midwest with a one-time or recurring gift. By partnering with us, your gift helps us recruit students and faculty, refine our curriculum, and support our staff. We are a nonprofit 501c(3) organization. Thank you for your support!

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We are a 501c(3) nonprofit organization. Gifts are tax-deductible.

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Saturday is Matt and Amy's 17th wedding anniversary.