Why Youth Ministry in the Church?
The biggest fear of parents and leaders concerning teens in the church is “students walking away from their faith and giving up on church.” So, we want to address this question: What is it that sets apart these students who stay in the church?
1. These students are saved.
We need to talk less about “good kids” and more about “saved kids.” If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2Cor 5.17). Instead of good participation, the real focus is on salvation—the miraculous saving work of the Spirit in teen hearts through the ministry of God’s Word, and avid prayer. The objective is life-changing conversion, “old things passing away and new things coming,” as we teach, disciple, and equip them to be future church leaders.
2. These students are equipped.
Christ gave shepherding-teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ (Eph 4.11-12). A biblical youth leader isn’t there for entertainment, or encouragement, or even friendship primarily, but to equip young believers. Graduating students need to know how to share the gospel, mentor others, and lead Bible studies. They need to have good Bible-reading habits, Bible-study skills, and be strong examples of discipleship and prayer, ready and willing to become strategic members of their church.
3. These students have parents living out truth.
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it (Pr 22.6). This vision is beyond a youth leader’s ability. It takes committed parents. Those involved in their kid’s spiritual development generally see them grow up to love Jesus and serve in their church. So, we encourage this principle in the home. God saves, the church equips parents, they live out the gospel, and youth leaders help parents equip their teens. The more healthy families there are, the more time a youth leader has to work with those saved out of unbelieving homes.
Youth Ministry in Provo Bible Church
If the family’s role is shaping, teaching, and training children, then what is the purpose for a youth ministry? In a sentence: It should contribute to fulfilling the church’s goal to train up and send out life-long followers of Jesus Christ and servants of His church.
1. Youth Ministry is Word Centered.
Let every aspect of youth ministry—big and small, one-on-one, outreach, service projects, short-term missions—be led and guided by God’s Word. Only His Word is able to make students “wise for salvation” (2Ti 3.15). We need to send out believers, readers, studiers, and lovers of God’s Word.
- They will learn how to hear, listen, and respond to those who teach them the truth.
- They will learn how to encourage others carefully and profitably in the Word of God.
2. Youth Ministry is Church Focused.
Youth ministry goes out of its way to remind the students their youth group is not the church. It is a ministry included in the church. It encourages participation in corporate worship, equips students for service in the church, and reminds them they won’t be in “youth group” for long.
- They will have opportunity to learn how to serve and lead others in the church.
- They will be uniquely situated in the community to “lead the way” in Gospel witness.
3. Youth Ministry is Family Oriented
The youth leader always sees him self in support of godly parents, not in opposition to them. Unless circumstances demand it, he partners, equips, and reinforces biblical truths being taught in the home. Youth ministry done well is really a ministry to the whole family.
- They will be encouraged to respond to their patent’s spiritual leadership in the home.
- They will be encouraged to invite their patent’s involvement in youth ministry.
Youth Ministry can’t Replace the Family
We believe in youth ministry in the local church, but the primary sphere for teen evangelism and discipleship is the Christian home. God gave parents that responsibility. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up (Deut 6.6-7). This describes a God-centered home and is has clear implications for youth ministry.
- Parents are encouraged to take responsibility for the spiritual growth of their children, as much as it depends on them, to intentionally evangelize and disciple their own children at home.
- Parents shouldn’t assume that the church will do this work, but will enthusiastically seek to reinforce, strengthen, and bolsterthe ongoing parental ministry in a Christ-centered home.
- The church openly places this responsibility on parents, reminding and calling them to it, communicating the limited capacity of youth ministry in their teen’s spiritual development.
- The church not onlycalls parents to their spiritual responsibility, but equips and encourages them in it—training them to be leaders, teachers, and spiritual mentors in their homes.