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Youth Group vs Youth Ministry

I’ve always used the words youth group and youth ministry interchangeably. If I ever saw a difference, it was more that Europeans tend to use ‘group’ more and Americans mostly favor ‘ministry’.

But in a workshop I attended some time ago, the speaker argued that there was a difference between a youth group and a youth ministry. He stated that a youth group is inwardly focused and aimed at church kids, while a youth ministry is outwardly focused and outreach driven.

youth groupIt was an interesting distinction he made and while I could wee where he was coming from merely based on linguistic arguments—after all the word ministry does allude to ministering to people, whereas a group can also refer to any other kind of group and is more focused on the group itself—I wasn’t sure if I agreed. I definitely don’t think that every youth group and ministry has purposefully chosen to be either one.

So what do you think: are they the same or is a youth group indeed fundamentally different from a youth ministry?

Posted on 3 Comments

3 thoughts on “Youth Group vs Youth Ministry

  1. See, I think youth group is a modality of youth ministry. But youth ministry can (and should) be larger than the youth group.

  2. Praise Jesus,
    According to me, the youth ministry can produce groups of its own.
    Why?
    Because ministry is so big and contains many departments in it.
    God bless you.

  3. I can see why the “group” piece would carry some baggage around being portrayed as a shallow bible study or programs oriented ministry, and I personally don’t use the word youth group because of this. But at the end of the day we use whatever language we want and our action will speak louder. If I wasn’t going to take my ministry beyond programs then I’d be fine with using “youth group”. Call it what it is!

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