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Scroggins: Youth ministry needed on the mission field
February 23, 2004
By Valeria Valenzuela

More than one-half of the world’s population is under age 25. One-third of the world’s population is under age 15. And in many developing countries, more than 50 percent of the population is under the age of 15. But, 99 percent of youth workers live in the United States of America.

These staggering statistics mean great opportunities and imposing challenges for youth ministry in the future, said Jimmy Scroggins, dean of Boyce College, the undergraduate institution of Southern Seminary.

Scroggins spoke about the strategic importance of integrating youth ministry on the mission field Feb. 10 in Southern Seminary’s Legacy Center. His lecture was part of Boyce College’s National Center for Youth Ministry (CYM) Youth Emphasis Week, held Feb. 9-13. Events for the week included guest lectures, symposiums, panel discussions and guest presenters in various classes.

Scroggins drew his comments from his doctoral dissertation. In his research, Scroggins found that current youth work around the world is not commensurate with the need. Though he does not deny the fact that youth work is being done, Scroggins encourages a more direct, strategic way of targeting the world’s youth.

“Youth ministry on the field is often due to response and not due to strategy,” Scroggins said.

A new strategy should include training indigenous missionaries in youth ministry.

To accomplish this goal, Scroggins proposed utilizing all the tools available to Southern Baptists. Scroggins believes that the International Mission Board can provide youth ministry training to field personnel and can also facilitate networks of youth-focused missionaries. LifeWay Christian Resources can distribute youth ministry resources translated into native languages. And Southern Baptist seminaries in the United States can train missionaries in cross-cultural youth ministry.

Scroggins believes that Boyce College can also play a crucial role in reaching the world through youth ministry.

“The firepower in this room is immeasurable,” Scroggins said of the students in the audience.

The future youth workers at the event seemed to catch Scroggins’ vision.

“I really see the need for training of youth workers within a country,” said Scott Fickes, a recent graduate from Boyce College. “It is so crucial because they really know how to reach their culture better than we do.”

Freshman youth major Ashley Brock definitely sees herself going back to work with the youth in Brazil. She was excited to hear Scroggins’ proposal for the IMB.

“I think this is opening up doors for me, as well as for others to discover youth ministry and develop programs for young people in different countries to hear the Gospel, be involved in youth groups and be able to benefit from that as we do here in America,” Brock said.

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