Thoughts: Youth Ministry, Stress, and Safety of Young People
YMIM News – March 2018 
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  • "A Safe and Friendly Place"
  • YMIM is Nonprofit and Effective
  • The Impacts of Cohort Learning
  • My World – A New Gap Year Ministry
YMIM Research on Youth Ministry, Stress Levels, and Safety

“A safe and friendly place.” I used to wonder why so many parents selected that option in our pre-visit consulting surveys. The question YMIM asks in these surveys is, “What do you value most in your youth ministry?” Pastors usually select “A faith-enriching environment.” Youth often select “Mission trips and retreats” or “Worshipful atmosphere.” Parents almost always choose “A safe and friendly place.”
The Parkland school shooting tragedy reminded me why parents often select this answer. I’m a parent, and I worry about my kids. We worry about where our kids are, we worry about who will see them throughout the day, and we worry about their stress levels. The American Psychological Association found in that teen stress levels were as high, or higher than adults (APA 2014). And, the Center for Disease Control is alarmed that suicide rates for teenagers doubled between 2007 and 2014. Being a teenager is harder than it used to be.
Like most of you, YMIM desires that a greater number of youth experience the grace and love of Jesus Christ. And, as you can imagine, young people and their parents respond best when churches and their leaders provide a hospitable and safe environment. 
FACT: Over the last year, YMIM provided paid consulting, training, and educational services for 30 churches throughout Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri. Ten other churches utilized research and phone support from the organization. At least 500 youth benefit from this leadership and consulting support. YMIM is the only nonprofit group that provides these comprehensive training, on-site, and research services in our region.
Contact Matt Vaughan, director, by phone or email for information about
Youth Ministry Institute Midwest: 913/972.2530 or
The Impacts of Cohort Learning

YMIM has seven youth ministers participating in its Cohort Learning program. They discussed ministry with adults and volunteers and youth culture last month. The group returns to Kansas City later this month to study adolescent development and ways to teach scripture. Please pray for Ryan King, Megan Doffin, Jenna Soltys, Bryant Westbrook, Charles Lingerfelt, Sabrina Wellman, and Matt Dumler (pictured below, left to right).

Other recent classes included Family Systems, taught by Rev. Jason Carle in the above photo, Counseling and Self Care, taught by counselor and youth minister Brian Kuhn, Ethics in Youth Ministry, Worship, and Recreation, taught by experts. The conversations have been rich!
Our next cohort begins in August! The program includes 300 hours of instruction, 100 hours of coaching and on-site support, travel to YMI-sponsored conferences, and four theological intensives taught by some fantastic seminary professors. Youth ministers who complete our program typically see their youth groups double in size!
New Partner: My World Initiative
I’ve been working on an exciting side project for the last year called “My World Initiative.” It’s a new gap-year program designed for students who want to experience the world, serve in mission, and work in a ministry environment. Check out the website, and find our partner on social media:

Here is a Summary from the Website:

My World Initiative is a 12-month adventure broken into three major phases. Your travels will take you behind the curtain of the inner city, to the edges of rural civilization, into people's homes, and into the magical world of cultures you've only heard about. Every place you go is your classroom, every person you meet: your teacher. You'll learn from people who are the front lines of changing the world every single day and spend your time working alongside some truly remarkable and creative innovators who are working to make the world a better place. Go see all the places in your world, then go find your spot in it. You're already part of the difference.
If you're 18-25 years old, are trying to determine the right career path, have an itch to go see the world, want your life to mean something, or just want to meet people from different walks of life: My World is for you. You may be one application away from the adventure of a lifetime!

(My World is a YMIM partner ministry.)
Copyright © 2018 Ministry Leadership Initiative (YMIM), All rights reserved.

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