Difference Between Youth Ministry And Youth Group
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Difference Between Youth Ministry And Youth Group

Read my Honors paper about the difference between the two words and get interested in the interviews

Difference Between Youth Ministry And Youth Group
Youth Leaders Academy

Eighty to 85 percent of people who become Christians do so between the ages of 14 and 18. Youth undergoing some kind of regular spiritual growth keep their faith past college (ChurchLeadership.org). Of youth who do not maintain their faith past college, over 85 percent of them do not come back to any church (ChurchLeadership.org). Over 16 percent of young people reported involvement in a church or religious group, and 54.6 percent reported involvement in a sports club or team (Journal of Religion and Health). In one study, over half of the freshmen students (52 percent) reported that they attended religious services frequently the year before they entered college, but less than one-third of the junior students (29 percent) reported that they attended church services frequently (Journal of Youth Ministry). The same study also found that less than one college student in 10 reports that their “religiousness” is “much stronger,” and about one in eight reports that their “spirituality” is “much stronger” (Journal of Youth Ministry).

Youth are often grouped into clusters of disenfranchised youth, youth on the margins, high-risk youth and youth who are stable (The South African Baptist Journal of Theology). According to Christian pollster George Barna, he documented that 61 percent of today’s 20-somethings who had been churched, or welcomed into the church at one point during their teen years, are now spiritually disengaged. They do not attend church, read their Bible or pray (Charismanews.com).

From a five-week, three-question national survey funded by the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC), the youth group itself is the problem. The found that 55 percent of American Christians are concerned with current youth ministry because it is too shallow and too entertainment-focused, following in a failure to train mature believers (Charismanews.com). These statistics are based upon how many college students are involved in church and how many are involved in something else. They also show the need for church programs for teenagers and college students.

Many people get confused about the two terms, youth ministry and youth group. Many churches organize youth groups, but many other churches start youth ministries. Throughout those youth ministries and youth groups, children lose interest in being in the group or ministry and then the ministry or group ends after not having a lot of people in the group or ministry. Why is it important to know the difference between youth ministry and youth group? The difference is important because a youth ministry is more significant than youth groups.

I conducted interviews with Campus Ministry and gave them specific questions to answer based on this paper, and placed the Campus Ministry leaders’ answers in the third person. My paper will show you why youth ministry is more significant than youth groups.

Youth ministry: what is it?

Youth Ministry is the work of the church that is organized for, with, and by young people (GCYouthMinistries.org). Youth ministries suggest both learning and action. An example of a youth ministry is Campus Ministry, a college ministry on Neumann University’s campus. Campus Ministry strives to build community among Neumann students. Service, retreats, programs, and prayer life are rooted in the Franciscan heritage. Campus Ministry has the Ministry Center, Patrick McKenzie (Director of Neumann University Campus Ministry), Maria Marx (Campus Minister), Father Lowe (University Chaplain of Neumann University) and student staff.

The primary focus of a youth ministry is the salvation of youth through Jesus Christ. In other words, a youth ministry prepares students for effective ministry to junior high, senior high, or college students and their families within the context of a local church or a para-church organization (YouthPastor.com). Youth ministry has more potential for a significant relationship because many college-age students enjoy their college journey while other students feel so lost (Wilson, 2013). Youth ministry is also partnering to teach life skills.

So many college-age students get overwhelmed when they have to juggle everything at the same time that hits them all at once (Wilson, 2013). Youth ministry is the opportunity to journey together through questions and doubts; the faith conversation broadens as students engage in college classes and social settings; and the need for a consistent, trusted voice as well (Wilson, 2013). The functions of youth ministry are to raise the level of the worshipful life of the individual young person, boost up the standard of the fulfillment of the youth, educate and train for service, provide opportunities for outreach and service, and teach the philosophies of stewardship (GCYouthMinistries.org).

I conducted interviews with the Campus Ministry staff and for the first half of the interview, I asked them about their opinion on Campus Ministry, the benefits of ministry and how Campus Ministry impacts their life. Patrick said that he thinks that Campus Ministry in college is a beautiful witness. “Students are able to take what they have learned in school, what they have experienced in their faith life, and their own life experiences, and make the decision for themselves on how they see God in their lives. The benefits of working in Campus Ministry are the ability to meet new people each and every day with the hope of building community, and growing closer with one another and God.”

He thinks that Campus Ministry gives an individual the opportunity for introspection and reflection. “Through the many different experiences offered, we have time to truly slow ourselves down, have the ability to pray and have a quiet conservation with God and actually listen to what God may be telling you.”

Tina Grandizio said that she loves being part of Campus Ministry. She thinks that Campus Ministry is a fantastic way for anyone to get involved. One reason why she loves it is because she is able to participate in service opportunities on a frequent basis. “Another reason is because it doesn’t matter how ‘involved’ you are. You can sign up for one service event here and there, or you can fully dive into all that’s being offered. It’s very flexible, especially for us being college students.”

Gandizio thinks the benefits are not only valuable for the future, but for an individual’s soul as well. “With the different opportunities offered through Campus Ministry, not only are they phenomenal resume builders that will set students apart, they can make lasting effects on one’s personal life and make spirituality be more direct. Neumann always likes to emphasize the importance of the core values, RISES (Reverence, Integrity, Service, Excellence and Stewardship), within our lives. Campus Ministry simply does the same thing; it intertwines everything together. Campus Ministry can add to your life in a positive way that not only adds to your life in an outward way but inwardly as well. No matter how bad our days can get, there is always somebody that has it rougher. Doing something that can benefit someone else is a different kind of medicine that you cannot get just anywhere!”

Father Lowe said that Campus Ministry is an important part of this university’s service to our students and staff. He has seen how Campus Ministry has served the spiritual, religious, and social needs of both students and staff members. “Campus Ministry is a very good facet of the university’s proclamation of Christ’s mandate to serve all people. Spiritual growth, religious activities, socializing with people who are serious about their own faith and religious practice are some of the benefits. It’s a great place to meet like-minded people who are serious about their faith and serving the needs of others!”

Lena Farrell said that she loves being a part of Campus Ministry and she could not imagine it being absent from her college experience. It has contributed so much to helping her to adjust and feel included in college. She says she has been so fortunate to have met and continue to meet so many phenomenal people. These people have driven, inspired, and guided her in her life in college. “One huge benefit of being in a ministry is definitely the sense of community.”

Farrell has met so many great people whom she can rely on and look up for help. “Everyone that is a part of Campus Ministry brings a different gift and dynamic, so you learn so much about yourself and your peers. Another benefit of CM is that you are able to deepen your faith alongside your peers. This is such a key aspect of CM because that is what it is all about. Ministries, such as our Campus Ministry, improve your life by including you in something greater than yourself. You learn so much about yourself and others.” She feels that what makes Campus Ministry different is that this connection is on a much deeper level. She is able to have conversations and practice her beliefs much more comfortably thanks to what she has learned by being involved with Campus Ministry.

Marykate McGurk said that Campus Ministry is a type of work that she looks forward to. “It is awesome to have the opportunity to help others with their spirituality through programs and services.” One great benefit would be that ministry is a way to help others while nourishing her own spirituality. “A part of Christian ministry is taking the role of teacher or one who shares.” For this, she tries to open with dialogue and encourage others to have a good conversation. Campus Ministry is a necessary part of her college life. It has helped her grow in her faith and make it stronger. She more fully understands her role in life due to her time in Campus Ministry.

Sinead Mohan said that she enjoys being a part of a close-knit group where we all enjoy doing service work. “We all have that in common and that creates a strong bond. We want the best for Neumann. The benefits of being in a ministry group are being able to find leadership roles on campus as well as having friends with similar interests and values.” Campus Ministry improved her life because it allows her to reflect more on experiences and lead others through service.

Kelsey Sullivan said that she loves being in Campus Ministry! It helps her to express her faith with others and to serve God with people her own age. Being in a ministry makes everyone feel at home. “We have the Ministry Center here to invite all people into build great conversation and relationships with others.” Campus Ministry has improved her life greatly. She became involved in service her freshman year with one of her other friends and it changed her college experience completely. Instead of being internal about her faith, Campus Ministry allows her faith to be expressed outwardly – not just through acts of service but also having meaningful conversations with peers.

Josh Yearwood said that being part of Campus Ministry is like being part of a team and coming to a consensus to reach the student population. “There are no real benefits to being within Campus Ministry but talking to others, being open and available to others of either a like mind or different background. They get you involved in and out of your comfort zone.”

Ciara Travers said that she enjoys being a part of the Campus Ministry because she loves taking part in any service event she can. She loves to lead the different service events and meet so many different people. Some benefits include giving her time to those in need, creating great memories along the way, and meeting so many different people at Neumann. Ministries impact her life greatly and get her more involved at Neumann.

Matt Janicki said that he thinks it is beneficial being in Campus Ministry because he can profess his faith through his service. He is a part of a team that gives him a sense of belonging and we work to achieve a common goal. Campus Ministry gives him opportunities to deepen his own faith by helping others.

Stephanie Vogelman said that it is a great opportunity to form strong bonds with her classmates and develop more spiritually. She is able to have personal connections with her ministers, priests, and fellow student staff members. Through Campus Ministry as a service leader, she is able to strengthen her leadership skills by leading a group of her fellow students and is able to see how other people live.

Maria said that college Campus Ministry is a great resource for students to get in touch with their faith life through the community with their peers and involvement in service, retreats, and prayer opportunities. “By being involved in Campus Ministry, students have the opportunity to explore and expand their faith and to gain a deeper understanding of the role that God plays in their lives. College is a unique time for self-discovery; involvement in Campus Ministry gives students an outlet for discovering their true self, the type of person that they want to be, and the type of impact that they can make on the world. Service experiences and retreats present students with the space to learn in unique, diverse settings through interaction with their peers and members of their own communities. Ministry can improve a person’s life because of the opportunities that it creates for growth and introspection. In both college campus ministry and youth ministry, young people who are often in difficult times of transition, or facing unique challenges, are able to find a place for God in their lives.”

Jessica Cosenza said that being involved with Campus Ministry has been an amazing experience. She has been given the chance to meet so many great people and she has been given so many opportunities to help those in need. “The benefits of being a part of a ministry is you are gaining a better relationship with God, yourself and other special people in your life.” Being a part of a Campus Ministry has really given her a positive view of life. She is able to approach each day with the confidence that it will be great because she is able to have a place to go to like the Ministry Center.

Kellie Waters said that Campus Ministry is one of the most incredible opportunities that she has ever been given. It allowed her to spread her faith and the Gospel to those who may not be exposed to it. “Being involved in Campus Ministry is such an honor; to be able to serve God and others all in one is the biggest honor of it all. Everything, every part of ministry is a benefit.” She loves seeing people receive the power and message of God in their lives through ministry. She also thinks the lightheartedness and escapes that ministry is for people are such amazing features. “It makes people feel loved by not only those ministering to them but by God, too.” Campus Ministry improved her life by giving her the ability to see God face-to-face in herself and others. She is able to really serve others and it is serving that is such a passion and love in her life.

Paul Mitsky said that being in Campus Ministry is something he enjoys and it feels good to give back. Being in a college ministry is good because it is flexible and he gets to work with his peers. “The benefits of being in ministry are not physical benefits, but emotional. You get to see new faces and build friendships while at the same time helping others. CM improves your life because when you become a part of it, you represent it, so you do what you can to keep the ministry in a good standing.”

Nayeli Garcia said it’s her first time being part of any kind of ministry and overall she enjoys it. She never pictured herself to be in an environment like this one, but glad she is. It gave her the chance and time to figure out who she is as a person. There are many perks of being part of a ministry, but this what she believes are the benefits of being in a ministry: “Having the chance to meet new people within the ministry staff and those involved in Campus Ministry, and that we all have each others’ back. We are a family where our bond is irreplaceable and unforgettable from the good times and memories we all share together.” Campus Ministry changed her life. It allowed her to get out of her comfort zone and be the person she wants to be. Meeting new people, making new friends, taking part of retreats and volunteering are things she’s grateful for. Without Campus Ministry, she would not know where she would be.

Youth ministry is a sub-discipline of practical theology, in which practical theology begins with who and where we are, is faithful to the Scriptures and the history of God’s people, and provides a discernable and pragmatic course of faithful action. Practical theology also begins with specific reality, or context, and moves from there to a reflexive conversation with the Scriptures that leads us to new action. Youth ministry reflects upon, studies and analyses those situations in which adolescents find themselves, and where adolescents respond in concrete ways to a God who reaches out to them. Youth ministry has a vital role to play in addressing the human dignity of adolescents (Clark, 2008).

Youth group: what is it?

Youth group is a circle of young people, as for social commitments, normally under the support of a church, governmental organization, or the like. Youth groups recommend both an age limitation and a confidential clique of people (Ashley, 2013). Children entering a youth group benefit from health and fitness, collaboration, distinct skills and a perception of distinctiveness. About 36 percent of today’s believers are convinced youth groups themselves are not biblical (Stetzer, 2014). If your youth group is lacking true ministry and the preaching of Jesus and seems more like an embracing chamber with pizza, which many youth groups are, you are not going to have much difficulty proving that youth groups are bad (Stetzer, 2014). So, if your youth group is just a group with pizza and there for chats and games, and no teaching of Jesus or true ministry, you can not tell if the youth group is bad or not.

The difference between a youth group and a youth ministry is that a youth group occurs for the sake of those inside of the group (a group of friends and leaders that exist for each other’s sake and a vast place to hang out & stay out of tribulation), while a youth ministry happens for the sake of others and exists for the sake of ministering to teenagers (Rjgrune.com). A youth group spends time on what they have and a youth ministry gives to the people. A youth group sings, while a youth ministry worships. A youth group cares about the people in that group and no more, while a youth ministry cares about reaching the lost. A youth group baby-sits, while a youth ministry trains and equips (Moore, 2011).

Here is the second part of my interview, in which I ask all of the Campus Ministry staff if they have ever been in a youth ministry or a youth group and, if they have if they know how a youth ministry is different from a youth group. Marykate said that she has been in a youth group for two years in high school. “For one, because high school students need more organization, they had more regular meetings, whereas Campus Ministry is more integrated into her daily life here at Neumann. In addition, a majority of programming was planned by the adult youth group leader while a good portion of Neumann’s Campus Ministry is planned by students.”

Kelsey said that she was in a youth group in her home parish when she was in middle school. She thinks that youth group and youth ministry are similar in that we talk about God and serve others. She thinks the ministry here differs from her youth group from home in that we have a set mission of St. Francis that we try to portray through our interactions with others and our service events. Her youth group at home did a little bit of everything, not really focused on a particular mission of a saint, but more focused on God in general.

Josh simply answered, yes, and said that he has been in a campus ministry before and they do not differ that much.

Matt said that he was in a youth group in grade school. “Youth group was more individual spirituality development, while Campus Ministry is more about helping others develop their spirituality.”

Ciara, Lena, Stephanie, Patrick, Paul, Nayeli and Sinead had never been in a youth group or a youth ministry.

Father Lowe said that youth ministry is about faith-based practices and service. Youth groups usually are about forming relationships and group activities.

Tina said that she has been attending Catholic school since pre-school, so she has always been exposed to service opportunities, retreats, and Mass. However, she would not necessarily say that she has been involved in a youth group -- she has just always gotten involved at school.

Maria said that college campus ministry and youth ministry are different primarily in their settings. “In college ministry, there is the advantage of a campus -- a unifying space for students of the same age group to come together and explore their faith. Programs can be offered to students right on campus, often even right where students live in the residence halls. Students can take ownership of all the college campus ministry has to offer because of the way that it can be integrated into their living and learning experience. Youth ministry differs in that rather than having a college campus as a common ground, ministry groups function out of a church or parish. This creates a different, but equally beneficial experience. In youth ministry, young people seek opportunities for faith development and are given those opportunities through their prayer communities. Experiences are similar to that of college ministry -- retreats, service, and prayer.”

Jessica said yes and that she was in a youth ministry and the biggest difference she can be able to think of is being a part of a college ministry has given her more of a chance to create her own programs and really feel like a leader.

For Kellie, she said that she was involved in a youth group in high school and it changed her life. When I asked her the second question, she said that she honestly does not understand the context of the question. Plus, she thought that youth ministry and youth group were the same thing.

Why is it important to know the difference between youth ministry and youth group? The distinction is vital because a youth ministry is more significant than youth groups.

I hope to find more people involved in both youth groups and youth ministries and look forward to finding more evidence on youth groups than youth ministries. I also hope that everyone gets to know the difference between the two terms, youth ministry, and youth group. Anyone will enjoy a ministry or even a group, as long as they have fun and know God.

From Your Site Articles
Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

21 EDM Songs for a Non-EDM Listener

Ever wanted to check out EDM music, but didn't know where to start? Look no further! Start here.

21 EDM Songs for a Non-EDM Listener

If you have been following me for a long time, then you know I write about two main things: relateable articles and communication media based articles. Now, it is time for me to combine the two. For those of you that don't know, I am a radio DJ at IUP, and I DJ for a show called BPM (Beats Per Minute). It is an EDM, or electronic dance music, based show and I absolutely love it.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

100 Reasons to Choose Happiness

Happy Moments to Brighten Your Day!

A man with a white beard and mustache wearing a hat

As any other person on this planet, it sometimes can be hard to find the good in things. However, as I have always tried my hardest to find happiness in any and every moment and just generally always try to find the best in every situation, I have realized that your own happiness is much more important than people often think. Finding the good in any situation can help you to find happiness in some of the simplest and unexpected places.

Keep Reading...Show less

6 Things Owning A Cat Has Taught Me

This one's for you, Spock.

6 Things Owning A Cat Has Taught Me
Liz Abere

Owning a pet can get difficult and expensive. Sometimes, their vet bills cost hundreds of dollars just for one visit. On top of that, pets also need food, a wee wee pad for a dog, a litter box with litter for a cat, toys, and treats. Besides having to spend hundreds of dollars on them, they provide a great companion and are almost always there when you need to talk to someone. For the past six years, I have been the proud owner of my purebred Bengal cat named Spock. Although he's only seven years and four months old, he's taught me so much. Here's a few of the things that he has taught me.

Keep Reading...Show less

Kinder Self - Eyes

You're Your Own Best Friend

Kinder Self - Eyes

It's fun to see all of the selfies on social media, they are everywhere. I see pictures with pouty lips, duck lips and pucker lips. I see smokey eyes, huge fake lashes and nicely done nose jobs, boob jobs and butt lifts. Women working out in spandex, tiny tops and flip flops. I see tight abs and firm butts, manicured nails and toes, up dos and flowing hair. "Wow", I think to myself," I could apply tons of make-up, spend an hour on my hair, pose all day and not look like that. Maybe I need a longer stick!"

Keep Reading...Show less

Rap Songs With A Deeper Meaning

Rap is more than the F-bomb and a beat. Read what artists like Fetty, Schoolboy Q, Drake, and 2Pac can teach you.

Rap artist delivers performance on stage
Photo by Chase Fade on Unsplash

On the surface, rap songs may carry a surface perception of negativity. However, exploring their lyrics reveals profound hidden depth.Despite occasional profanity, it's crucial to look beyond it. Rap transcends mere wordplay; these 25 song lyrics impart valuable life lessons, offering insights that extend beyond the conventional perception of rap music.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments