An Open Letter To Youth Workers

Hey there . . . It’s me, Andy. For some of you reading this right now, I don’t need to introduce myself. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you in person over the last few years. (And I mean it when I say it, it is a pleasure to know you.) For the vast majority of you whom I have not met, I’m the guy who leads all of our content creation here at ym360. (Nice to meet you. You look great by the way. Is that a new shirt?)

Why the introduction? I’d like to ask for three minutes of your time for a little heart-to-heart chat.

If you’re reading this, there’s a high likelihood that you are one of the youth workers who makes up the ym360 Community. One of the greatest privileges we know is getting to partner with you to help you lead students closer to Christ. And I mean that with all my heart.

Daily, weekly, monthly you stop by the blog, share a post on Twitter, leave a comment on Facebook, or call or email us. You purchase our Bible Study resources. You attend a training workshop. You put our free stuff to use. Daily, weekly, monthly . . . tens of thousands of you.

My point in mentioning a number is not to boast, or to express any sort of satisfaction whatsoever. My point in mentioning numbers is simply this:

You are one of a dynamic group of individuals who are lead by a common purpose to come to this place and interact.

What is this common purpose? It sure as heck isn’t ym360 or the ym360 Blog. No, the purpose that draws you here is (thankfully) much greater. The purpose that has drawn this community together is a desire to see teenagers experience life transformation through an ever-deepening relationship with Christ. I think this purpose is as important now as it has ever been . . .

I believe the cultural landscape our students currently find themselves on may make developing a meaningful faith as challenging a prospect as it has been in the history of being an American teenager.

Now, I’m no alarmist. I believe too strongly in the power of the Spirit and in the power of the Church. I’m also no expert (far from it). But I am a sponge. I soak up as much pertinent research about culture and young people as I can; I seek out people much wiser than me to listen to what they say about spiritual formation; and through meaningful relationships with teenagers I listen to what they deal with . . .

As a result, I’m 100% convinced that as the people tasked with leading students in their spiritual growth, we must make some changes to the ways in which we go about it.

Which brings me to the real purpose of this heart-to-heart. I want to ask you a favor. I’d like to ask your permission to work through some of these questions here on this blog. Out loud. In the open. Together.

Why do I bring this up? It’s simple, really. I don’t have the answers. Heck, there may not be any one person that does. But I think that WE, this strong and dynamic community of youth workers, can move the conversation in a really great direction.

But that means we’ll need to push and pull on each others thoughts a little. It means I might put some thoughts in front of you that aren’t perfectly formed. I might not ask the right questions all the time. And I might propose some solutions that miss the mark. But I’m willing to think out loud if you’re willing to engage in a conversation about what needs to happen.

You are the ym360 Community. You have a tremendous amount of knowledge, experience, and passion. I believe together we can ask the right questions. And I believe together we can meet the needs of a changing culture with the timeless and powerful truth of Christ.

I’m looking forward to it . . . Glad we had this talk.

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Andy Blanks
Andy Blanks is the co-founder of youthministry360, a ministry committed to equipping youth workers through resources, training, community, and networking. Andy is passionate about God’s Word and the transformation it brings in the lives of God’s people. Andy is a writer, teacher, speaker, and a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan. He lives in Birmingham, AL with his wife and three daughters. Check out Andy’s youth ministry posts on the ym360 Blog (www.youthministry360.com/blog).

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