Our Bold Vision.
By God’s leading and local partnerships, IYS will help others establish strategically positioned self-sustaining teams to encourage, equip, and empower thousands of youth ministers who will impact countless youth around the globe.
We believe this vision necessitates collaboration supported by Spirit-inspired unity and expanded through diverse life-experiences, skills, spiritual gifts, and roles (Eph. 4:11-13; Acts 2:42-47).
Unlike traditional “franchise” or “replication” models which use a “going global” approach via distribution of products and programs, we aim to prioritize partnerships with like-minded youth ministers (including individuals, organizations, networks, and movements) who desire to work together (at the local, national, regional, and global level) on intentional areas of ministry.
We organize youth ministry leadership around 6 core focuses:
Advocating – What is youth ministry and why does it matter?
Consulting – What models and methods of youth ministry are contextually appropriate and how can we build them?
Collaborating – What are others doing to advance the kingdom of God and how can we work better together?
Researching – What issues matter to young people and how is the gospel holistically relevant to them?
Developing – How can we create or co-create timely and culturally appropriate resources which balance principles with practices?
Training – What training is necessary to empower youth ministers to best thrive where God has placed and called them?
Over the years we’ve used the illustration of youth marts to better explain our bold vision. Often the case, around the world, youth ministers lack necessary resources and support. They either have a fruit cart of limited offerings or a warehouse of mislabeled goods.
In many Non-Western nations discipleship resources, and responses, are far-and-few-in-between. The limited offers cannot keep up with the rapidly changing youth culture. When tools are available, they are often imported from the West and unfamiliar to the local “palate.” Sadly, the adaptation of these unfamiliar resources may result in increased costs of money, time, energy, and unhealthy expectations. Even worse, over time malnourishment may arise as these imported models, methods, and means of youth spiritual formation are insufficient, unsustainable, and slow to scale.
Time and time again, in Western countries, we hear youth ministers say, “There are too many resources; we don’t know where to begin and what to use.” There are so many training courses, leadership development materials, and curriculums causing local youth ministers to struggle as they find what’s right for their context. The surplus of goods, and hard to read labels, take time and energy to wade through.
We envision a well-organized market for youth ministers to access relevant materials, most of which are locally sourced fresh goods with ease of adaptability. These indigenous resources, and responses, are supplemented with imported specialty goods. In these virtual or physical locations youth ministers walk the isles (each labeled, advocacy, consulting/coaching, collaboration, research, development, and training) and leave encouraged, equipped, and empowered for ministry to and through youth. Further, from each local mart, a supply network develops whereby goods are shared and shelves are stocked, and restocked, with timely goods. In this cooperative system, all benefit as they contribute to and carry-away momentum to help youth know Christ and make Him known.