The role of the adult youth minister in youth ministry

George Boran, Fordham University


This study was designed to research the role of the adult youth minister in youth ministry. The investigation sought to build a theory that could help define the role of the youth minister by interpreting the data supplied by people who have been successful in this role. The study involved youth ministers from both the United States and Latin America. Role theory provided an important theoretical basis for the research project, especially the concepts of role expectations, role ambiguity, role clarification, and role conflict. The research strategy employed a qualitative research approach which used guided interviews to collect data from a sample of 21 youth ministers from the United States and Latin America. While the United States participants were selected from three Catholic dioceses on the east coast of the country, the Latin American participants came from nine different countries. Based on the theoretical framework of the study and the categories that emerged from the data, a theory of the role of the adult youth minister in youth ministry was developed. The findings were presented under three main frameworks: personal role expectations, the expectations of others, and role conflict. There was remarkable consensus among participants from both continents within these frameworks. Nevertheless important contrasts emerged in the following areas: visions of youth organization, empowerment of young people, mission of youth in society, establishment of boundaries with regard to relationships between adults and adolescents, critical awareness, involvement of parents, and models of church. The major differences that emerged did not so much reflect competing models between participants from the Latin American and the United States churches as much as an ideal toward which youth ministers in both continents need to work. The weaknesses of each group were challenged by the strengths of the other group. Differences did not necessarily mean disagreements but rather goals or levels of youth ministry at which not all have as yet arrived.

Subject Area

Religious education|Religion|Educational sociology

Recommended Citation

Boran, George, "The role of the adult youth minister in youth ministry" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9809005.