Youth Ministry

Growing up balanced and with a solid – yet growing – spiritual life is the goal of the youth ministry at St. Andrew’s. By spiritual life we mean the kids have feel that they are on a good, trustworthy path with God as a follower of Jesus. We want to provide them a place to start off, be planted, and be nurtured with their peers and with adult leaders who will befriend, support, and guide them.

We like to use the following metaphor for youth ministry – even it really applies to all religious life at any age. In these early years we are helping the young people build a flower box to grow in. The box contains good soil, it provides safety and security and structure. It gives meaning, support, and a sense of identity. In modern culture where every institution and foundation is questioned and doubted we want to provide a place to start.

The question and doubts will come, sooner or later, if they keep growing. This is why the box has no lid, and the box can be added onto and even remodeled. But kids need a place to begin their spiritual life and our aim is provide one for them.


The box has three parts to it – at least in the two dimensional drawing:

a. The Bottom – the Essential Story
This is our particular way at St. Andrew’s of telling the perennial story of God, the Creation, humankind; where we came from, are headed, and our final goal. It is depicted as the base of the box because it is foundational and the other two sides are anchored to it. A slightly more sophisticated version of the Essential Story is available for adults. It serves as our baseline story and helpful in preparing students for baptism and confirmation.

b. The Left Side – the Rest of the Story
There are traditions, practices, and history that undergird the Essential Story. When kids learn these facts and background information it helps them understand the ‘Episcopal brand of Christianity’ better and it serves connect with this form of the faith. Everyone needs this grounding in some tradition to begin with. The Rest of the Story includes things like how to read Bible (and how not to read it), what is the origin story of the Episcopal Church, what is the broad history of Israel and the Old Testament, what is the current state of the most pressing social justice issues and what are some of the other world religions. The Rest of the Story is one of the two sides of the box and helps create the space in the Christian flower box to grown in.

c. Life Skills
Spirituality and religion do not exist apart from the rest of life. In fact they are the matrix in which life happens. Life for pre-teens and teens lives can be complicated challenge. Young people are influenced by school, and parents; friends and peer pressure; sometimes violence and family issues. What’s going to happen after high school and how does one cross the sea of adolescence intact? How can one the pervasive presence of social media? What are the challenges of blended families?

These concerns cannot be solved in a youth group, but we want to be a positive influence, a source of information, and a safe place to talk about life in these years where lots of things are in flux. Life skills and support therefore make up the third side of our youth ministry box.