Anyone have info on the importance of a college education for a career in YM?
I gave a quick answer at the time, but here is a slightly longer answer…
1) Yes and No: If you are in full or part-time paid ministry I would say “yes”. If you are a volunteer my answer is “no”. However, I would challenge you to educate yourself and understand God’s Word, youth culture, and ministry skills as best as your time allows. Leaders should be learners, even if you are a volunteer. Volunteers have a huge impact on students. In my ministry, my volunteers are the heroes who truly are in the trenches investing in students. It’s imperative they are growing and learning…
2) College Gives Greater Theological Grounding: Being in full-time ministry, I have found that college forced me to get grounded theologically and gain valuable hermeneutical skills to teach and apply the Bible. I am not sure I would have forced myself otherwise?
3) College Gives Greater Youth Ministry Skills: No matter how much many would debate the value of theoretical college over practical real world youth ministry, there is still a great value in studying the “how’s and why’s” of youth ministry. In fact, many colleges use text books that are written by in the trenches veterans. Who wouldn’t want to learn from Duffy Robins and Doug Fields?
4) Youth Ministry Needs Greater Professionalism: In today’s world we need skilled and trained people to work with teenagers who are facing all kinds of challenges. You can’t just jump in the deep-end of ministry these days. We need to be on our best game to survive, thrive and be able to invest in students effectively.
5) Churches Expect a College Degree: I know a good friend who has no formal youth ministry degree and he is perhaps one of the greatest youth workers I know. However, he is the exception, I believe. I know many incredible youth workers who could have got by without the formal degree, but that is not the world in which churches live in. Having credentials is one of the main ways churches can know that we have had an official level of training. Therefore, we need to accept this reality and embrace this as a necessary step.
6) “Jesus, didn’t have a degree, why do I need one” : He is the Son of God. End of Story
7) “Jesus disciples didn’t have a degree, why do I need one”: They practically received a Ph.D in three years they spent with Jesus.
8) “I just think it’s dumb, that I have to get a degree to work in full-time ministry” : Ask yourself why you think it’s dumb? Is it dumb, or do you just not like the reality? Is it dumb, or do you like short cuts? Just wondering?
How has a college degree helped your ministry?