First Third Conversations

The CYF Minister

By Dr. Nancy Going, Director of the CYF Distributed Learning Program at Luther Seminary

 Leaders in Children and Youth Ministry have ALWAYS had a unique view of the church.  

Unique, generally because of the type of people that God calls to lead from the second chair.   (An aside:  Have you ever thought about that? You chose not to be the Senior Pastor, why was that?)

And unique, because you see things about the Church and your congregation that no one else can see in quite the same way.  

This is a role that has often called outsiders to stand outside-

Creative, crazy, fun, engaging types of people. 

To reach outside of the congregation

To reach those who tend to live on the edges of the church

To physically live in the edges of church buildings where youth rooms are often located.

Or to function outside of the church in camps or para-church ministries.

Children's ministers, while not often given the distant physical space, work with the people who are the most powerless in their churches.  

When you take on this ministry, you are also no longer a part the congregation, even if you come out of the congregation; but you are also not the Senior Pastor. 

And you were hired or placed there, intentionally.   

And from these perches, you DO see things that no one else sees.

And God has called you, like Aaron, or Isaiah or Jeremiah before you, to use your unique perspective to help the Church see.  

And that's just where we want to go in the next two months here on  We'll have leaders and practitioners all exploring this role, and the view of the church from the second chair of CYF ministry.  

Over the next several weeks, we want to dive inside various aspects of the changing face of ministry with children, youth and their families by naming and claiming what it means to lead in the church from this unique perspective.   

A youth minister friend of mine recently wrote me that she is finding that the wall is so hard, and her head hurts.  There are similar declarations all throughout the prophets.  I wonder if it isn't time to follow and become a different kind of prophet.  There was ONE who challenged and led people in a whole new way.  I wonder how walking in HIS footsteps will empower us to lead?    

I invite you to join us in a critical conversation.

Join the conversation on!

Nancy Going is a life-long youth minister, who loves Jesus, other people learning to love Jesus, her husband Art Going, and the two new families that are her kids and grandkids. 

See more >

previous main next