The Youth Ministry (YMN) at Bethel College is founded on the principle that authentic youth ministry requires the professional youth worker to become a student of the Bible, a student of culture and a student of adolescence. Accordingly, our Youth Ministry and Adolescent Studies curriculum offers 34 hours of Biblical Studies course work, 22 hours of Social Science course work, and 25 hours of Adolescent-specific course work, in addition to the traditional liberal arts curriculum required for an accredited bachelor's degree. Upon completion of this Bachelor of Arts degree in YMAS, students fulfill all the prerequisites for graduate work, particularly in Biblical Studies, Theology, Divinity and Youth Ministry. Further, the major is designed to meet all the academic requirements for ordination in the Missionary Church, Inc.
Within that context, the goals of the program are that students shall:
- Develop a style of service and ministry that cares for the full range of human needs.
- Be equipped for immediate ministry vocations in churches, para-church organizations, etc., by balancing biblical and theological education with practical skills necessary for ministry.
- Have the necessary foundation on which to pursue theological education at the graduate level.
- Develop skills in interpersonal relationships that reflect biblical values.
- Learn how to study the Bible and to relate its message to today's world.
- Be acquainted with the major philosophies and religious systems of the world.
- Be especially prepared for ministry within the Missionary Church or the student's own denomination, with an awareness of the whole Body of Christ.
In addition to these, the Youth Ministry program has distinctives that focus on the particulars associated with ministry to teens.
- Strategic youth ministry thinking - being able to critically and knowledgeably think about the strategies, components and assumptions of contemporary youth ministry and to effectively lead youth ministry with wisdom and enthusiasm.
- Practical skills and experience - more than just classroom and theory, the YMN major at Bethel allows students to gain real-world ministry experiences in a variety of available youth ministry settings. The practical experiences are in tandem with reflection and supervision to help the student grow in his or her proficiency.
- Christ-centered service - at the center of learning about youth ministry is a core commitment to Christ-centered service, seeking to have a greater dependence on Jesus Christ than on our own natural ability.
- The Saturday Seminars - a four-year cycle of one-credit courses that offer Bethel College students the extraordinary educational opportunity to connect with, and learn from, some of the nation's premiere leaders in the field of youth ministry and adolescent studies.
- Multicultural awareness - the growing diversity of America, new understandings and discussions about identity in America, and the desire to reach urban and international youth demands that youth ministry people today be able to function and minister in a variety of settings.
- Adolescent development expertise - the program provides a solid grounding in both traditional understandings and recent research regarding adolescent development.