purpose of family and youth ministry

Have you ever took the time to sit back and ask yourself, “Why do I do the things that I do?”  Well, I like to do just that!  I like to remove myself from the forest so that I can get a good look a tree or two.  In other words, I like to remove myself from the “big picture” so that I can see some specific things. 

For example, over this past summer we canceled the youth weekly meetings.  Yes, this was different and upsetting to some, but it provided us with the opportunity to have a break from the norm of the past, so that we could get ready for the new move of God in the future.  What this break allowed me to do was to sit back away from the forest to take a closer look at why we do what do through the family and youth ministries of Perrow Church.

What is the purpose behind family and youth ministry?  For example, why do we have children’s church and a youth program?  What is the reasoning behind?  What need are they trying to meet?  Why do we do the things the way that we do? 

Let’s answer some of these questions for the family and youth ministry.  Why do we have our meetings the way that we do?

What is the purpose of a youth ministry in a local church?  Is it to provide a place to meet new people, to build relationships, to play games, to teach the Bible, or to reach those that have not encountered Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior? 

Who should run the youth ministry in the local church?  Should a pastor fill all of the above mentioned roles as social director, activity and game organizer, as Biblical scholar, and evangelist extraordinary?  Should the youth minister be a cross between a comedian and an academic scholar able to engage youth with both humor and wit? 

With these two questions in mind I believe….

….that the purpose of a youth ministry is to provide an opportunity for committed parents, caregivers, and youth to Christ an opportunity to not only reach out to youth that are not born-again believers, but to incorporate them into meaningful relationships.  This means that a youth ministry should be ran by multiple families, parents, caregivers, and youth who serve as missionaries in their local community.

How does such a change affect youth ministry?  Honestly, it doesn’t have to change to much, just a different emphasis on who does what is changed.  For example, families, in particular dad’s (check this out http://jessewisnewski.wordpress.com/2007/12/06/the-greatest-youth-ministers-ever-are/) are to lead their families in the worship of God.  So youth should primarily be obtaining the things of the faith in and through their homes.  Consequently, the church should serve as a support to the family by providing both encouragement and resources.  Therefore, youth should recieve all that they need and more at home and families should not anticipate and/or expect the church to fill the role that God has called them to serve in. 

So, what happens to traditional youth ministry?

Well, check back and find out later!

    

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One Response to purpose of family and youth ministry

  1. Jesse Wisnewski says:

    At the moment I am reading Eric Wallace’s “Uniting Church and Home: A Blueprint for Rebuilding Church Community.”

    The chapter that I am currently reading is 14 and is titled “From Separation to Integration.” What he does at length is describe different facets of church ministry, such as nursery, children, youth, and Sunday school, and provides practical ways these facets can become integrated across the generations (i.e. children with parents)and no longer separated (i.e. children separate from parents).

    The following is a quote from his section on youth ministry which ties in beautifully with this post:

    “There is need to restore primary relationships, namely that of parents to their teenage children…Youth leaders often become surrogate parents, which can actually perpetuate problem relationships in the home. Working with parents helps to alleviate this possibility.

    Most youth activities involve the youth and their households. Actually, we [Eric Wallace] have integrated many youth and adult activities in an effort to keep the household together” (241)

    Afterwards Dr. Wallace describes how he and his church have integrated Sunday school classes. Basically, instead of having jr. and sr. high and adult classes, they have integrated the three into one.

    Yes, some youth who did not have parental covering at church or did not possess good relationships with their parents dropped out. However, in an effort to keep those youth, they found that it was best to provide a curriculum that was geared towards youth.

    Moreover, their men’s ministry calls for fathers and sons to provide a teaching and a lesson from multiple criteria. Such a ministry further encourages men to take leadership responsibilities, while teaching their sons to do the same.

    Thought that Dr. Wallace’s book provided some better practical advice in rethinking traditional youth ministry.

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