Teenagers are a vital part of our church. “Not only does the church need young people, but young people need the church.”¹ As these young people grow up and mature into the next adult generation, Lord willing, they will be the ones that will lead the church. Each person involved in the youth group must strive in every aspect of ministry to have a continual healthy growth in the knowledge of and relationship with Christ.
One main purpose of youth ministry is to teach young people the foundational truths of God’s Word. This is done through the preaching and teaching of the Bible. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
A youth ministry provides fellowship for Christian teens in a safe environment. “Fellowship happens in youth ministry when students are known, cared for, held accountable, and encouraged in their spiritual journey.”² In a society overrun with false worldviews and blatant sin, a youth ministry can provide a teenager with a place of comfort and safety, as well as providing a place of positive peer-pressure. Here, teens are able to meet other teens that share in an excitement for God’s Word.
A youth ministry is also a place for outreach to the lost. It is important for the youth to see the importance of having a ministry to the unsaved, with a constant realization of the sobering reality that people are dying and going to hell today.
Most importantly, youth work provides a way to teach young people how to have a deeper relationship with Christ. Whether by friendship, love, or family, teens are dependent on relationships. All too often though, teenagers depend on human relationships, rather than on their relationship with Christ.
A youth group would be impossible if it weren’t for leaders. The people that are often involved and responsible for running the youth ministry have a huge impact on the lives of the young people.
The youth pastor leads the teens by teaching of the Word and by the example of his life. His life must be demonstrating how exciting and fruitful a close walk with Christ can be. Youth leaders also come alongside the youth pastor to help teach and be an example for the teens. Finally, it is important to remember that the primary authority in a teen’s life is the parent. Church youth ministry does not take away the responsibility from the parents. Church youth ministries should merely aid in the training that should be going on at home. Sometimes a youth ministry needs to make an effort to train parents in how to effectively disciple their own kids at home.
- Teaching and preaching are vitally important for growth in the knowledge of the Word and the development of a walk with Christ.
- Activities and games help break down barriers and unify Christian teens in friendship. Using different methods such as sports, singspirations, game nights, video scavenger hunts, etc. work toward the goal of bringing Christian young people together. It is also important for Christian teens to become involved with outreach in their communities. One of the main goals in the youth group is to reach out and win the lost. Nursing home visits, hospital visits, Vacation Bible School, AWANA help, or mission trips are all great ways for teens to get involved with outreach.
- Personal Accountability is needed to check-up on teens as their week goes on. One-on-one conversations will go a long way to make a teen feel loved and cared for.
As the youth pastor and the youth staff leads the youth ministry they must remember the necessity of a continual healthy growth in the knowledge of and relationship with Christ. As the leaders of the church strive to glorify God they must remember that God has a purpose for the teenagers in the youth group. It is the leaders’ responsibility to help those teenagers see their need of a sincere love for God. “A heart for God is [the] ultimate goal for teens.”³
¹ Lawrence M. Reese, Youth Work in Today’s Church (Philadelphia, Muhlenberg Press, 1956) 8.
² Doug Fields, Purpose Driven Youth Ministry: 9 Essential Foundations for Healthy Growth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998), 137.
³ Paul David Tripp, Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens (Phillipsburg, New Jersey, P&R Publishing, 1997) 185.