By Chris Wilterdink*
Ministry with young people is a constantly evolving field, currently dominated by social media, constant connection, and evolving technology.
Staying a step ahead of the latest trends and technologies could be a full-time job in itself. However, few churches can staff themselves that specifically in support of young people.
Knowing this, the Young People’s Ministries (YPM) at the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) has created the Field Guide Network (FGN). This network is an online community that will allow youth and young adult workers to connect with and mentor each other; sharing wisdom to build connection.
YPM believes that the Field Guide Network will create and strengthen connections among those who serve young people in the church. Experienced leaders of youth and young adult ministries [Field Guides] are available for connection online, to help you discover new ways of doing ministry at your local church. There is great value in journeying to new places with those who have been there before. History is full of examples of such partnerships.
The pairing of Sir Edmund Hillary with guide Tenzig Norgay during the first summit of Mt. Everest or Sacagawea’s role in the western expedition of Lewis and Clark highlight the value of journeying to new places alongside an experienced guide.
Wisdom sharing in the FGN happens primarily through short-term mentoring relationships between Field Guides and Explorers.
Field Guides have deep experiential knowledge of particular ministry areas, an active ministry setting where that knowledge is being demonstrated, and a record of quality mentoring/relationship skills with peers and co-workers. Active Field Guides have also completed an application process with YPM.
Explorers are leaders of youth and young adult ministries who have a specific need within their ministry, and aspire to connect with others to improve their ministry offerings. Explorers can search the network by areas of expertise, geography, or by ministry context.
Anyone can visit www.fieldguideumc.org as an Explorer and search through our curated group of Field Guides. Information about how to become a Field Guide is available on the website.
*Chris Wilterdink is Director of Young People’s Ministries Development at the General Board of Discipleship in Nashville, TN.