A Philosophy of Youth Ministry
By:Former Youth Pastor Bill Hertz
Romans 12:1-2, To Teach God’s Word to a generation of Youth that need to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, and looking to God their father for direction in their life.
Changing the Inside, Affecting the Outside
Mark 12:30 Know God and Make Him Known
As we fall in love with Jesus, we will naturally be draw to the things of God and reaching out to people. I believe that God’s word can transform lives in the youth of today (Rom. 12:1-2). We must build trustworthy relationships with students. Relationships that they can feel safe to say how they feel, but also know that there will be accountability, much like a coach on a team. Our approach needs to be similar to a coach praising and challenging his team to work hard and make a difference. The relationship must be more than a “grown up friend”. Through a respectful relationship we earn the right to be heard in student’s lives. To challenge, encourage, and even rebuke at times.
Through the five purposes laid out in Acts 2:42 and the Gospels; Discipleship, Fellowship, Ministry, Evangelism, and Ministry; we follow a model that early church did. By building a program that targets these purposes we will have direction and purpose for each activity that is done. For example a normal youth group meeting may involve games, music, and teaching, but without a purpose or goal, it can just be a bunch of activity. Everyone involved needs to know what we do and why we do it. The games are there to bring students, have fun, and most importantly break down the walls of relationship barriers. Some Fellowship and outreach may happen through this activity. But just because the activity happens does not mean the purpose is met. These same purposes could be met through a small group meeting, designed to accept and bring students in.
- Discipleship: Teaching with interaction and lives changing
- Acts 2
- Small groups, teaching, some retreats, TLC
- Fellowship: Friendship, accountability, sharing meals, serving one another
- Acts 2:42
- Greetings, youth group, prayer cells
- Ministry: Meeting in churches, homes, and running the church
- Acts 2:42
- Treasury, attendance, skits, drama, youth group, etc.
- Evangelism/Mission: proclaiming the gospel to those that have not heard.
- Outreach night, Mission: To go out and work with people, taking care of their needs and proclaiming the gospel.
- Mark 16:15
- Community work projects, mission trips
- Worship: Prayer, obedience, music. Providing an atmosphere of love. Showing by example how to worship Christ with your life. And praising Him with music.
The “How” is not as important as the “Why”. The “How” is still important, but the leaders, the parents, and the students need to know what we are trying to accomplish. The mission is the Great Commission, to preach the Word and make disciples of Christ.
Youth ministry needs to be a part of the Church and its ministry. Teens need to know that the Church cares for them and everyone is working together. Youth ministry cannot succeed apart from the local Church. This is a tough balance sometimes, because teens need their own space and they like to do things differently than adults. There needs to be a balance of Youth group by itself and youth involved in the Church.
Through relationships, God’s Word, meeting the needs of teens, discipleship and prayer I believe that this generation of young people can be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Rom. 12:2) and therefore make Godly decisions in life. This can happen in a number of different ways, through a number of different programs. The most important ingredient is God’s Word being effectively taught and through the Holy Spirit we can see lives change and see great things happen for the kingdom of God.