Now Available: The New Model for Youth Ministry Guide


DALLAS (SMU) – The Lilly Endowment funded initiative at the Perkins School of Theology, “Reboot: The Congregation as Youth Worker,” released the first guide for churches interested in discerning and eventually implementing an innovative and sustainable model for a congregational ministry with youth. Churches can begin this process by downloading the new resource guide on the Reboot Youth Ministry website.

Traditionally congregations have delegated youth ministry to dedicated youth ministers or other staff persons; Reboot was initiated with the goal of encouraging the entire congregation to be engaged and invested in reaching and ministering to youth.

Vetted by the 16 diverse congregations of the Reboot Starter Cohort, the first guide consists of a self-paced, six-month discernment and excavation process. “Our goal is to curate further a broader community of learning for congregation-based youth ministry innovation through this initial guide,” explains the initiative’s co-director, Rev. Bart Patton. “Once downloaded by a church, we plan to establish a connection and periodically check-in with the congregation to offer any necessary assistance.”

Along with co-directors, Bart Patton and Rev. Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison, Victoria Sun Esparza, founder and CEO of In the Water designs and Perkins alumna (MDiv ’19), developed this guide to help congregations assess their current youth ministry’s challenges and opportunities through design-thinking strategies. In addition, four representatives in the Reboot Innovator Cohort, who completed this guide, spent four weeks editing this resource to prepare for mass distribution.

“The initial guide is designed to get churches started,” says co-director Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison. “Now, we are currently in the process of perfecting and innovating the next guide to help churches implement their ideas for congregation-based youth ministry.” Churches are encouraged to follow the Reboot Youth Ministry Initiative’s progress online via Facebook, Instagram, and the Reboot blog.

About the Reboot Youth Ministry Initiative

Reboot is a program of SMU Perkins School of Theology, housed within the Perkins Office of External Programs, dedicated to helping launch an innovative approach to youth ministry—one that involves the whole church and integrates youth work into the life of the congregation. Reboot will provide mentors, training retreats, leadership classes, and financial support. Read the announcement press release here.

Co-directors of the grant are the Rev. Bart Patton, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Education, and Rev. Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison, Associate Dean, Office of External Programs. Also working on the grant team are Emma Flores, Administrative Assistant of the Reboot Program and Becky Stegmann, Perkins Graduate Student Assistant. 

For more information about the initiative and program resources, contact Emma Flores, Administrative Assistant – Reboot Grant, at