Youth and Family Ministry Director
Wilson Memorial Church, Watchung, NJ
In each edition of GenOn Connect, we will ask one member of the GenOn Ministries Advisory Council the same two questions about intergenerational ministry: “What keeps you up at night?” and “What gets you up in the morning?”
What keeps you up at night?
I’ve been in youth ministry now for 30 years. As a career youth minister, I led “best practice” youth ministries both within the church and in campus ministry, as so many dear colleagues and friends do around the country. Kids have a great time, understand God in a relatable way, and even experience the difference that mission and service can make. But when you’ve been in youth ministry long enough to see generations leave youth group and float away from the church, you realize what you have spent your life on, and sacrificed for, is not doing the work you set out to accomplish. Considering the work we have to do to change the culture of how we do church is daunting.
What gets you up in the morning?
It’s the same thing that allows me to fall asleep! God has been faithful to lead me into the intergenerational community where I’ve had not only the opportunity to work on a Ph.D. in intergenerational work, but to coach churches that are looking to make systemic change in how they form faith in the young and keep their church growing. It’s hope that allows rest and gives you the excitement to start the day. I have a renewed call and a real answer for all of those church leaders and congregants who are wide awake like I was.
Michael Droege is a career youth minister who is currently serving as the Youth and Family Ministry Director at Wilson Memorial Church in Watchung, NJ, as well as coaching churches as a Vibrant Faith Associate and working on his Ph.D. in intergenerational ministry through the University of Pretoria.