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    Local youth ministries connected via national network

    Finding the kids to minister to may be even tougher for youth workers than actually ministering to them. Today’s youth run busy lives with diverse interests and may seem to disappear into the community after school. But until that last bell sounds, most kids spend their day in school. And here is where the National Network of Youth Ministries (N.N.Y.M.) steps in. They aim to put a student-led ministry on every middle school, junior high and high school campus to reach students.

    Doug Clark, N.N.Y.M.’s director of field ministries, oversees the individual network coordinators throughout the United States, including the seven networks in San Diego County. Clark has worked with the organization since 1990 and is excited about the potential they have to impact the lives of students.

    According to Clark, N.N.Y.M. has local networks throughout the United States working with youth and their leaders to fulfill the Bible’s Great Commission. Headed by a volunteer coordinator, the local networks focus on two areas. Firstly, they promote relationships between the youth workers to encourage unity and cooperation.

    “When youth workers model unity,” explained Clark, “the kids see the Body of Christ they are not focusing on denominations.”

    Secondly, the local network uses events and strategies so the group can work together to create an effective ministry, following the examples set forth in John 17 and in Ecclesiastes 4.

    The National Network oversees the various local networks and assists the youth and youth workers in reaching their local goals as well as their national goal of having a student-led ministry on every campus.

    One of the strategies towards reaching that goal is called First Priority. A national tool that started in Irvine, Texas, many local networks have adopted First Priority as their strategy to reach youth. Suzanne Lederer, co-director of First Priority, describes it as “…a strategy that is church-based and is a group of churches and youth pastors coming together.”

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