- Examen at Indiana Wesleyan University blended an online learning experience with a “Live Stream” interactive social element, utilizing their campus’s TV station and resources from their youth ministry events department.
- Convergence at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia offered free, four-week online Zoom meetings to explore the intersections of faith and science.
- Awakening at Hope College in Michigan, which emphasizes worship leadership, offered online video tutorials on worship, musical and visual arts performance, dance, and technology.
- The Hendrix Youth Institute at Hendrix College in Arkansas held a three-day online event with a session on spiritual gifts, a panel of clergy and leaders sharing call stories, and time to worship together while reflecting on social justice issues.
Some of these programs have also adapted this year to respond specifically to issues emerging during the pandemic, such as racial justice.
- Leaders of Bridge Builders at Tuskegee University in Alabama, a program housed in their National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care, are equally articulate in matters of medicine and theology and welcome their participants to be the same. They invite students to identify with the late Rev. C. T. Vivian and the late Congressman John Lewis, two Black religious leaders who lived their faith in the public square.
- Living the Questions at Bethel University in Minnesota, located not far from summer protests in the Twin Cities, provided a space for their participants to process the theme of justice and discuss current events.
- The Simpson Youth Academy at Simpson College in Iowa focused their virtual “tracks” on faith and leadership in crisis times.
- YTI IMPACT at Emory University in Georgia established a blog, a book club about whiteness, and a pastoral care space online for Black program alums.
And some YTN programs during this pandemic are finding new ways to resource their denominational partners.
- Kaleo Academy at Barclay College in Kansas held panel discussions with denominational leaders both young and old, streaming live on Facebook. They also offered free classes online to anyone interested.
- Collide at the Center for Youth Ministry Training in Tennessee, one of the few YTN programs not located directly at an institution of higher education, worked with youth ministers to craft a mission week that any youth ministry could adapt and administer in their setting during this time, whether online, in-person, or hybrid.
Help High School Students Take Their Next Faithful Step
“Do you believe the Bible is true?” my professor asked me. YES, I do. I see its Truth in history. I see its truth in contemporary lives and issues. I invite its stories to shape how I write my story.
Most significantly, DYA and fellow YTN programs have modeled for me a way forward that lives into that tension between my child-like faith and academic scholarship.
Do youth think the Bible is true? In partnership with churches, colleges, and universities, Youth Theology Network programs equip high schoolers to respond with a RESOUNDING YES. They help youth continue to embrace the stories of Scripture as they enter their adult lives. They are “grown-up” versions of Godly Play, inviting wondering and faithful commitments. And they are helping youth to imagine and practice serving as church leaders themselves someday.
Do your youth believe the Bible is true? From one fellow church leader to another, I invite you to discover which YTN programs are nearest to you. They can welcome your high school youth into the college experience. They can support the work at your church. They can train students for a future in ministry.
The Youth Theology Network is a resource for your high school ministry, and we invite you to join us.