My favorite assignments that I give to my students are the ones where they have to go out and have real life interaction with young people. I feel that these experiences give them more learning opportunities than when they just create something on paper.
One of my all-time favorite assignment of all of the curriculum that we teach as Youth Ministry International is the one where the students break into small groups and have to study a sub-culture. They are basically doing ethnographic research to identify the culture to use it the culture, to reach the culture.
This past bimester I was teaching Youth Culture, and my students have had to go out and do cultural research. One of the groups was studying skaters in Mexico City (one of my all time favorite sub-cultures that brings me back to my days as youth pastor at North Dunedin Baptist Church).
As they were doing their research, my students met a skateboarding young man from Honduras. They asked him, “What could the church do for you?” He responded, “Give me food to eat and help me get off of drugs.”
This is youth ministry. There are thousands of young people just like this guy who need someone to come alongside him and help him practically and spiritually.
The other day in class, they were talking about bringing him a blanket and helping him more. I pray that this is one Seminary assignment that they continue following through with.