Some members of the Des Moines area ELCA youth ministry network were the featured presenters at a monthly continuing education gathering of central-Iowa clergy. The four of us spent the first hour talking about things we're interested in -- hermeneutics, social media, visual arts, collaborative ministry, and church renewal. The second hour was loosely structured as a panel discussion, where the pastors asked us a variety of questions. I left pleased; both in the quality of the presentation and in the warm reception we received from the pastors.
So here is where I start to sound spoiled and ungrateful...
For some of the people in attendance, there was a level of surprise (even shock) at the caliber of the youth ministers among them. One of the pastors asked if we were doing Bible study with teens and was taken aback when asserted that, yes, the study of Scripture is at the center of our ministry gatherings. Another clergy member told me afterwards, "I haven't learned this much about youth ministry since seminary." I think this was a compliment...but it made me wonder.
What does the church expect of lay ministers, especially people doing children, youth, and/or family ministry? Programming? Counseling? Theological education? Cheerleader? Resident cool, hip person?