Online Youth Ministry Course

Engaging Youth Culture

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Create a powerfully relevant youth ministry with the tools teens need to discover, discern, and decide how they’ll intersect and respond to today’s culture.

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$198 value
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Course Overview

Theologian Abraham Kuyper defines “whole-life” discipleship this way: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’”

In this youth ministry leadership training course, discover how to help your teenagers make that definition their own as they integrate their faith into all of life, confronting cultural influences and making choices that do—or don’t—lead to deeper discipleship and a growing friendship with Jesus.

This online youth leadership training course helps you learn how to equip teenagers to see their lives through a Christian worldview. Sharpen their ability to be discerning. And give them the tools they need to consistently make faith-affirming, life-giving decisions.

Course Outline

Getting Started

Discover how to navigate your online course, get connected to our ministry network, and download a copy of the Course Notes.


Meet course instructors Dr. Kevin Turner, Professor of Youth Ministry at Colorado Christian University, and Rick Lawrence, award-winning author, cultural researcher, national speaker and executive editor of GROUP Magazine. Their years of in-the-trenches youth ministry and leadership to youth pastors will inspire you on this journey.

Module 1. Leading Teenagers Through a Daunting Culture

Today’s culture is fast-changing, fast-moving, and overwhelming. It’s challenging to lead teenagers in a cultural environment that’s defined by uncertainty. In this module, we’ll help you “get your feet under you” and lean into the presence of Jesus before we dive into helping teens live fully for Jesus in a daunting culture.

Module 2. Excavating Our Cultural Environment

The great philosopher Marshall McLuhan observes, “Environments are not passive wrappings, but are rather, active processes which are invisible.” Before we can help teenagers engage their cultural influences in an active way, we have to wake them up to the impact of their environment. In this module we’ll examine how to diagnose the environmental influences forming your teenagers.

Module 3. The Art of Culturally Relevant Ministry

When we’re talking about our culture, we’re usually focused on advancing it, not retreating from it. That means our default setting is to continue pushing the envelope into what’s new, not remain stagnant in what’s old. We’ll explore some practical ways you can engage cultural influences for relevant youth ministry.

Module 4. Teaching Kids to Be In, But Not Be Of, Their Culture

To help teenagers better live in their future without becoming of it, we need a new acronym in youth ministry—W.I.J.F. It stands for “What Is Jesus For?” When we’re for the things Jesus is for, we naturally swim upstream in our culture—but the energy behind that will be fueled by a passion for the heart of Jesus, not anger or fear against cultural influences that seem threatening. We’ll examine what we’re doing to provide a rich environment for face-to-face interactions in our ministry and how to move kids toward greater intimacy in their relationships with Jesus and others.

Module 5. How to Teach Apologetics to Your Kids

Sometimes the future teenagers are immersed in does more than simply promote alternatives to the culture of the Kingdom of God—it actively counters it. Students who are trying to follow Jesus can feel like they’re under attack. We’ll show you how to equip teens to stand their ground in the spirit of Jesus. By using the tools of apologetics, you can help today’s youth to thoughtfully and effectively engage their culture.

Module 6. Wrap Up

As you complete this course, you’re now equipped to help guide kids into a Jesus-following life that’s firmly planted in the world, but isn’t of the world. Now you can train them to stay awake and fully engage the culture influences in their life—in the Spirit of Jesus, and with conviction and discernment.

Course Outcomes

U Discover

A youth ministry approach uniquely designed to prepare teenagers to live “critically and Christianly” in their culture.

How to teach kids to uncover the underlying worldview of their cultural influences.

Ways to help students filter cultural truths through biblical Truth.

How to help teenagers make healthy choices with their cultural consumption.

Methods to help teens discover what God is already doing, then partner with him in doing it.

U Will

Create a powerfully relevant youth ministry with the tools teens need to discover, discern, and decide how they’ll intersect and respond to today’s culture.

About the Instructors

Kevin Turner

Dr. Kevin Turner is Professor of Youth Ministry and Theology and Chairman of the Youth Ministry Department at Colorado Christian University in Denver. He’s also Lead Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship at Morrison Chapel in Morrison, Colorado. He’s the author of Learn Before You Leap: 101 Case Studies for Youth Pastors, and has written articles for GROUP Magazine, The Journal of Youth Ministry, and The Journal of Youth Ministry Educators. Among the classes he teaches are “Youth Culture and Evangelism” and “Contemporary Youth Problems.” He’s an avid fan of both C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton, leading an annual university-wide celebration of Lewis and serving as a longtime member of The Chesterton Society. He’s married and has two children.

Rick Lawrence

Rick Lawrence is an author, ministry leader, and longtime executive editor of Group’s Simply Youth Ministry resources. He’s led the Simply Youth Ministry Conference and co-creates the 50-city Simply Youth Ministry Local Training tour. He’s the general editor of the best-selling Jesus-Centered Bible and is the author, co-author, or editor of 38 books.

Group U Ministry Certification

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