The Power of Youth

by Sharon Ely Pearson 

Our role as youth ministers is to strive to equip, empower and provide faithful opportunities for young people to grow in faith and love of God. The Power of Youth: Rodger Nishioka on Being Visionaries and Prophets is a way to bring a remarkable speaker to your youth, either in an education setting or youth group meeting, without their having to leave the comfort of your own church. Based on an address given by Rodger Nishioka at a national church gathering (Episcopal Youth Event – EYE) of high school teens, this Study Guide (70 pages on a CD) and DVD will provide numerous opportunities to engage young people in discussing their faith and their call to follow Christ.

Youth Ministry calls for passion, patience and faithfulness. We point out the sacred in the midst of the chaos of adolescence. We walk faithfully with young people as they transition from child to young adult. Youth ministry is a bridging ministry of education, connection, formation and hopefully, transformation. Bronwyn Clark Skov is Staff Officer for Youth Ministries in The Episcopal Church. 

In the Spring of 2012, Bronwyn Skov gathered with a group of young people who were attending a weekend diocesan youth event sponsored by the Episcopal Church in Arkansas. Their weekend was focused on “The Royal Priesthood,” with 1 Peter 2:9 as a scripture focus, and included watching the entire video of Rodger Nishioka’s presentation from EYE. This resource (The Power of Youth) is a product of both events—national and regional.

Eight sessions are offered, which can be used in a variety of settings, alone or part of a series. The videos run from 6 minutes to 15 minutes each, with the average being 10 minutes. Each session could easily fill one or two 45-minute class sessions or a 2 hour youth group gathering.

  1. Being Important (Joel 2:28)
  2. Being a Prophet (Acts 2:1-24)
  3. Being a Servant (John 13:1-17)
  4. Being a Consumer (Romans 12:1-3)
  5. Being Generous (Luke 21:1-4)
  6. Being a Change Agent (Ephesians 4:17 – 5:2)
  7. Being Yourself (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)
  8. Being a Connector (Ephesians 4:1-6, 11-16)

Not all young people have an opportunity to travel and participate in large events such as this. Most congregations have small youth groups and limited resources to travel outside their area of the country. Many do have opportunities to gather regionally by their synod, diocese or province. The themes of the 2011 EYE were “Build,” “Share” and “Fulfill.” Rodger Nishioka spoke on “Share,” challenging young people to be prophets and visionaries in their own time and way. The Power of Youth is a resource to help you engage your youth in a call to mission and witness as faithful Christians, just as thousands of young people were inspired in the summer of 2011. These sessions are designed to help you extend the conversation and build the body of Christ within your own youth community so each can go forth in doing and proclaiming God’s mission.

Each session follows the same format:

  • Leader Background—Information for you as the adult mentor that will include a scripture reflection as well as how the videos engage in the topic being discussed.
  • Opening Prayer—The prayers and scripture for each session are also available on the CD for you to download, reproduce and distribute if you choose. (3 minutes)
  • On-Board—An activity to gather the group that focuses on the topic or theme to be discussed. (5-10 minutes)
  • Scripture—To be read aloud in your group using The Common English Bible, but other translations may be helpful to your group also. (5-30 minutes)
  • Video—Segments of Dr. Nishioka’s presentation along with clips of Bronwyn’s conversation with the youth from Arkansas to jump-start your own group discussion. (6-15 minutes)
  • Conversation Starters—Questions to get the conversation going based on the video and topics addressed. (15+ minutes, depending on how many questions you choose to use or how engaged your youth are in the discussion)
  • Going Forth—An activity built upon the theme of the session that will be outward focused. (5-15 minutes)
  • Closing Prayer (2 minutes)

It is hoped that this resource will serve as a learning opportunity that “broadens the circle” of conversation with your youth to hear the voices of others from across the church as well as add their own voice in your home context.

How might this resource open conversations with your youth?

View a portion of the DVD on YouTube and learn more about The Power of Youth: Rodger Nishioka on Being Visionaries and Prophets (2012: Morehouse Education Resources).  The photo that accompanies this article is of the youth from the Diocese of Arkansas who attended EYE in 2011 taken by Randall Curtis, Diocesan Youth and Young Adult Ministry Developer. Used with permission. 

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2 Responses to “The Power of Youth”

  1. […] Learn more about The Power of Youth here.  […]

  2. […] The Power of Youth is an 8-session DVD (with leader’s guide and participant handouts on a CD-rom) features Roger Nishioka giving a presentation to an audience of youth, along with footage of other contemporary news items. Your group also gets to hear other youth respond to Roger, then you can further the conversation with your youth. There is no need to show this for eight weeks in a row – mix it up! […]

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