One of the issues that OMG: A Youth Ministry Handbook addresses is the current difficulty in defining adolescence. It's not just that the context has changed. Young people are also changing developmentally. This is clear in the literature such as A Study of Interactions: Emerging Issues in the Science of Adolescence. We can look at markers but cannot pin adolescence down exactly. This hazy period, like everything else, has its challenges and opportunities. It is in this context, that as OMG looks at youth ministry in a broad sense that includes families of youth, it notes: "What we can say with certainty is that churches can no longer afford to limit youth ministry to teenagers who gather in the church basement. The research on adolescence, and our citizenship in a global village, require us to extend our reach" (Dean 2010, 26). This means that we need to get out of the shell or cocoon in which your ministry with students may have become enclosed.
As youth workers, we need to educate ourselves on what is happening in the lives of our students developmentally and contextually so that as we continue to seek to be faithful we are informed and better able to minister to and support them. We also need to extend our reach.
How can you extend the reach of your youth ministry?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor