When Reformed Youth Ministries was founded in 1972, it started as an annual conference for youth. Now, 50 years later, the organization offers six conferences annually — two for middle schoolers and four for high schoolers.
About 15 years ago, RYM also expanded its reach to help train and support youth workers and parents, not just teenagers themselves. “To really get the gospel communicated to the next generation, we’ve got to be investing in youth workers, those who are ‘boots on the ground.’ And we’re including parents and full-time, part-time, and volunteer youth workers,” explains Director of Resources John Perritt.
RYM recognizes that each youth worker has a different ministry. “Some have 100 students in their ministry. Some have 10.” At a recent RYM training in Nashville, Tennessee, there were about 150 attendees. In addition to the annual training in Tennessee, RYM also offers training in Paradise, Pennsylvania, each year.
When Dr. Perritt joined RYM in 2017, his job was to build resources for youth and youth workers from the ground up. Having Bible studies, podcasts, books, and other resources has allowed RYM to broaden its reach internationally. “We found out that there are churches in the Philippines that downloaded our Bible study material. It’s so humbling to us as a ministry to say, ‘RYM has a presence in the Philippines.’ It’s awesome to see how the Lord has broadened the reach of RYM.” This year, Dr. Perritt is also changing “The Local Youth Worker” podcast, adding new segments and asking guests about their own teenage years.
Celebrating 50 Years of RYM
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, RYM is compiling “50 for the 50th.” Working with other ministries and individuals, they’ll be releasing 50 “top 10” lists on topics ranging from topical books and hymns to movies. Greg Meyer, another RTS alumnus, wrote “Top 10 Books on Justification” to kick things off. These lists are a way to celebrate God’s faithfulness, connect with other ministry partners, and serve the kingdom by providing free and helpful starting points for various topics.
Finally, Reformed Theological Seminary and RYM are pleased to announce that they will be partnering to produce “Concise Theology for Students,” a resource to help disciple students, whether they’re witnessing to friends about the gospel or asking questions on topics like justification. While “Concise Theology for Students” will be written for middle and high schoolers, it could also help youth workers as they mentor and minister to believers and unbelievers alike.
As they reflect on the past half-century and look to the future, RYM is asking, “How can we be creative in communicating the gospel message to the coming generation?” Whether partnering with like-minded ministries or finding new ways to reach youth, RYM will continue to “serve the church in reaching and equipping youth for Christ.”