I’ve always used the words youth group and youth ministry interchangeably. If I ever saw a difference, it was more that Europeans tend to use ‘group’ more and Americans mostly favor ‘ministry’.
But in a workshop I attended some time ago, the speaker argued that there was a difference between a youth group and a youth ministry. He stated that a youth group is inwardly focused and aimed at church kids, while a youth ministry is outwardly focused and outreach driven.
It was an interesting distinction he made and while I could wee where he was coming from merely based on linguistic arguments—after all the word ministry does allude to ministering to people, whereas a group can also refer to any other kind of group and is more focused on the group itself—I wasn’t sure if I agreed. I definitely don’t think that every youth group and ministry has purposefully chosen to be either one.
So what do you think: are they the same or is a youth group indeed fundamentally different from a youth ministry?