I believe youth ministry is not a substitution for parenting and family. I define youth ministry as a consistent investment in the spiritual formation of an individual ages 11 – 19 which is most effectively realized in the home. Youth ministry should compliment the investment of parents in their child’s life as they (the parents) mirror Christ in their own lives. The understanding of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit should be echoed in youth ministry as it is taught in the home. It starts at home…
Psalms 23 opens with “The Lord.” Lordship denotates supreme authority. I believe a youth’s understanding of authority in the home and at youth will effect their ability to submit and surrender to the supreme authority of God. Therefore, respecting authority at home and at youth is encouraged and expected.
And yet, I believe youth are still learning. I believe growing in our understanding of God and nurturing a relationship with him is a journey and not a destination. My responsibility as a youth minister is to teach your sons and daughters how to read the “road map” which is the Bible, how to use the road map of life in the journey, and how to be a passenger along the journey. God is the pilot, captain, or driver in this journey…we get to relax and enjoy the ride.
The best thing we as youth minister, church, and volunteers can do for youth is to create a sense of belonging. The Zulu tribe in Africa welcomes each member by saying, “I see you.” The other responds by saying, “Therefore I am here.” Our existence hinges on the acknowledgement of our presence which is especially true for middle and high school ages.
We see them as they are for who they are. They are individuals seeking autonomy and independence but also need direction. They are unique and expressive. They have a voice and have something to say. Together we share our story of who Christ is to us because stories connect. It is the stories in the Bible and stories told by others that connect us to the truth of who God is.
With sincerest gratitude I thank you for sharing your treasure with us and invite you to “do life” with us on Sundays as we laugh, learn, and serve together!