Alyse Ritchie ('12) | Youth & Family Ministry

Alyse Ritchie photograph

Youth and family ministry 
major from Belton, Texas

Alyse Ritchie grew up knowing she wanted to work with young people. Her father was a youth minister, and early on she began thinking of following in his footsteps. She was deeply influenced by the way her father loved the kids with whom he worked. 

"I thought, 'Wow. This is really something I would want to do,' " she said. 

I like to see a mix of spirituality and community.

So, at the beginning of her senior year, Alyse began considering schools. She knew she wanted to attend a Christian school, and her family had a tradition of attending ACU. However, she insisted on visiting other schools before making her final decision. When she announced to her family that she planned to attend ACU, she says they were very excited.

"I felt like ACU was a better match for me," she said.

Alyse chose youth and family ministry for several reasons, including her father's inspiration. Part of her desire to work with young people stems from her resolve to be a role model, a good influence in the formative teen years. She wants to encourage kids to begin forming a relationship with God early on in their lives, establishing a foundation on which to build a life of faith in years to come.

"A big part of it is that I do love teenagers," she said. "I want to see kids grow up in Christ."

She considered pursuing coaching as a career and simply volunteering with young people, but something about the plan simply didn't work out. Now Alyse feels confident that youth ministry is her vocation, a career choice that allows her to do what she loves and honor God at the same time.

"I can really feel God calling me to this career," she said.

Hands-on work with teens

Alyse has been active in youth ministry for several years. She's currently working with  Southern Hills Church of Christ in Abilene, teaching a Sunday morning junior high Bible class. She has enjoyed spending time with the girls in her group and going to monthly devotionals with them outside of class time.

"I absolutely love the girls," she said. "It’s great."

She also did an internship with Blackstone Valley Church of Christ in Rhode Island from the end of May to the beginning of August. Though she went through a few rough patches, Alyse felt that God was shaping her through the experiences she gained there.

"I learned a lot," she said.

Mix of spirituality, community important

When Alyse envisions forming her own youth group, she has a number of goals in mind. First and foremost, she believes that teenagers need a mixture of fun and devotion to keep them centered in faith.

"I like to see a mix of spirituality and community," she said.

She is also determined to make the youth group experience a formative walk of deep commitment to God.

"Christ needs to be taught," she said.

Alyse appreciates the benefits of both smaller and larger congregations. She believes a smaller church can offer a greater sense of community, but a larger congregation might offer more diversity within the group. At the moment, she's simply content to follow where God directs her.

"We'll see where God leads me," she said.

Learn more about attending ACU 

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