by V. Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura, from the October 2016 issue of The Word:
In this article, we will look at what we are trying to accomplish in youth ministry, especially as we make the connection between what youth learn in the classroom and how they live out their lives as members of the kingdom of God here and now. We will look at youth ministry in terms of spiritual formation and the development of their identity as children of God. In doing so, we will reflect upon the holy scriptures and the divine services of the Church, examine the wisdom of the fathers, and, just as importantly, reach into layers of experience and practical expression to generate dialogue on what spiritual formation looks like in the classroom and beyond.
Today, the Church needs well-trained and well-equipped youth workers for the long term. Too often, we see youth ministry as a stepping stone to "real ministry," as a time of waiting for ordination or a secular job. We must be serious about raising and forming young people by training youth workers who commit their lives to youth ministry. America needs educators and youth workers who know the faith, who know Orthodox theology, who have diverse talents, who are of varying ages, and who are models of committed servants of Christ. In addition, it is with years of experience working with young people that we as clergy and youth workers can begin to understand fully the immense task before us. With many years of ministering to young people in Christ, and with them, clergy and youth workers develop the eyes, the ears, and the heart that are so essential to participating with God in youth formation.