There’s always something refreshing about starting a new year! It’s a great time for reflection: what went well? What could I have done better? What do I want to accomplish? These kind of questions are crucial if we want to be effective in our lives- whether it’s personally, in a career, or in the ministry.
In my case, I’ve been asking myself those questions about our church’s youth ministry. I’m only in my second year of ministry, but working with the youth has been the greatest joy I’ve had while working at the church. It’s amazing to see how God has worked in their lives this last year! As I was reflecting, writing goals, and planning for another year of youth ministry, I began to ask myself again why we have a youth ministry in the first place. I believe that by knowing why we have a youth ministry, we can be much more effective in investing in the lives of the young people in our churches. I just taught a lesson to my teens on why we have a youth ministry, but I thought it could be a help to others as well! There are three reasons I believe it’s important to have a youth ministry.
Outreach (Matthew 28:19-20)
Since the youth ministry is part of the church, it needs to have the same goals as the church. A healthy youth ministry should be concerned about reaching lost young people for Christ. Having a separate class time, activities, and youth rallies provides great opportunities to invite friends to hear the Gospel! The Christians that are best equipped to reach teenagers are other teenagers. This is an area that I would love to see our youth group grow in. As a youth pastor, it’s an area I need growth in! One change I’m implementing this year that I hope will facilitate growth is a monthly outreach challenge, to encourage every teenager to participate in outreach.
Fellowship (Gal 6:1-2) (Pro 27:17) (Ecc 4:9-12)
We all need community and fellowship with other Christians who will help us in our walk with the Lord. Growing up, it was through my own youth group that I developed friendships with others that still help me today! By being involved in a youth ministry, young people have an opportunity to develop friendships with other Christians that will help them faithfully follow Christ. I used to feel guilty about having activities that didn’t involve a devotion of some kind; but then, I noticed something. As our youth group had fun together, we became closer. Friendships were forged and strengthened; my relationship with the teens grew and developed. An enthusiasm to be in involved in church sprang from apathy! Class time was more effective and engaging. The youth ministry shouldn’t be a social club; however, fun activities and relationships are crucial to an effective ministry! One thing that I want our teens and parents to understand is that our activities, youth rallies, and conferences aren’t just there to take up space on the schedule; they’re valuable opportunities to build relationships that help our young people follow Christ!
Discipleship (II Tim 3:16-17)
The goal of the Foundation Baptist Church youth ministry is to develop Christian young people who are surrendered to live for Jesus Christ. We do this primarily through our teaching times on Sundays, but youth rallies and conferences are a very important part as well! Camp and the Northwest Youth Conference are the two biggest discipleship activities we have each year. Biblical teaching designed for teens is crucial to training young people who faithfully serve God. While we have fun, the focus must must be on teaching and applying God’s Word.
These three reasons explain what I am striving to accomplish in our youth ministry. We have a great group of young people, and I can’t wait to see how God will use them! I hope that by explaining my vision for the youth ministry of Foundation Baptist Church that you can see the important role it can play in a teenager’s life.