Jake Mulder carried no magic bullets when he talked to youth leaders from the Great Plains Conference.
“We’re not sharing tips like, ‘Throw a pizza party,’” he told more than two dozen participants in the third-annual Spring Training event for youth leaders March 31 and April 1 at the Aldersgate ReNew campus in Wichita.
“It’s not about Band-Aids. It’s not about quick fixes,” said Mulder, co-author of “Growing Young: 6 Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church.”
Mulder, director of strategic initiatives at the Fuller Youth Institute, will repeat the program April 28-29 at Horizons Community Church in Lincoln. Registration is still available.
Through studies at the Fuller Institute, Mulder said it was a myth that young people wanted watered-down teaching and a “hyper-entertaining program.”
They also want to hear less about abstract beliefs and more about Jesus Christ.
“Young people are very into Jesus,” Mulder said. “They’re very compelled by Jesus.”
Mulder also said that young people want “less about heaven later and more about life now,” with “less dogmatic certainty and more honesty.”
Churches, he said, are still structured for the 1980 world than they are for midway through the second decade of the 21st century.
Shane Hinderliter, local church youth ministries coordinator for the Great Plains Conference, said the goal of Spring Training has been to make high-quality training with nationally known experts accessible to those working in local churches in Kansas and Nebraska.
“Most of the time, high-quality training events are either far away and/or very expensive,” Hinderliter said.
Each team is presented with resources for use in youth ministry. The event is geared especially for pastors, youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, confirmation mentors and parents.
Eleven churches were represented at the Wichita training, Hinderliter said, and the schedule includes time for discussion.
“There’s lots of time built in to process what they are learning and how to bring it back to their church,” Hinderliter said.
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