The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Youth and family ministry

Good approaches require work

The stories on young people and the church are so valuable ("Youth or consequences," September). I’m grateful for Julie Sevig’s attention to young people as our “torchbearers” and to Diana Dworin’s lifting up of important new research and practices for companioning young people in faith. The main article seems to suggest that the most compelling motive for welcoming and nurturing young people is the survival of dwindling youth groups and congregations. Isn’t the primary motive baptismal and doxological: inviting young people into the fullness of dying and rising with Jesus Christ? The article also seems to locate the primary energies for this renewal of youth ministries in the new understandings and approaches of adults. Aren’t the youth themselves sources of prophetic wisdom and witness?

Bill Bixby
Philadelphia, Pa.

Midsized congregations face stagnation, at best, to extinction, at worst, if their leadership fails to meet the concerns, needs and wants of youth and families. Despite budgetary demands and time restraints faced by all congregations, ours took intentional steps to fund a part-time youth ministry post and to search for highly qualified and energetic candidates to fill it. Among other things our congregation also took a new approach to confirmation, creating a new program, schedule and curriculum called “After Our Baptism.” If your congregation’s youth and family ministry has developed a bunker mentality, voice your concerns and lead the charge to breathe new life into this important element of congregational life.

Nick Lamberti
New Cumberland, Pa.

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February issue


Embracing diversity