I graduated from PBU with a degree in youth ministry and filled up all my electives with counseling classes, but I think if I had to do it over again I’d reverse that and focus on counseling instead. Even though it was only four years ago, a lot of what I learned about youth ministry is out of date. Youth culture and thus youth ministry are constantly changing. I mean, there was no [tag]MySpace[/tag] generation even four years ago. But the counseling part of ministry I use over and over again almost every day. Even this morning I spent some time talking with a girl fresh out of high school who has a history of abuse and struggles with cutting and suicidal thoughts.
No matter what position someone holds in ministry — whether it be in music, youth, children, adults, administrative, whatever — as long as you’re working with real people, counseling is a very necessary skill. I’m not even a counselor but I talk with parents and students all the time and, after earning a little bit of trust, issues always come up.
I’m looking forward to [tag]Youth Specialties[/tag]’ theCORE this year because apparently it’s supposed to deal with part of this issue by training youth leaders to work with hurting kids. Even though I was the administrative director for Teenhopeline.com and may have more experience than some, I still wish I had a lot more training than I currently do. We all need it. And the people we talk to probably appreciate it when we have it, too.
Posted on October 20, 2006