Each year, Augsburg College’s Youth and Family Ministry program selects four of its students to attend the ELCA Youth Ministry Network’s Extravaganza, all expenses paid. Each year, students return excited, energized, and equipped to continue their studies for ministry. Upon returning, they tell about their experiences networking with youth directors, youth pastors, and youth volunteers from all over the country. The result is a lot of positive buzz about working with young people and the many opportunities that are out there.
“I often feel that I can’t do this kind of work,” says Nate Althoff ’12. He goes on to explain that some of his fellow Youth and Family Ministry majors “feel that we can’t do youth work because we aren’t good enough, or cool enough, or funny enough, smart enough, or trained enough.” Nate confesses, “I’ve spoken to one of my professors about it.” Such thoughts are not unusual for young adults thinking about working with middle school and high school youth in a church or other setting. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that Nate and his peers were in high school themselves. Fortunately, Nate was able to attend a national youth workers convention with the professor he mentioned, along with three fellow students enrolled as Youth and Family Ministry majors at Augsburg College. While at the convention, Nate was able to hear a nationally-recognized youth expert tell him: “Fear is normal; with God’s help, you can do this work!”