Fundamentals For An Effective Youth Ministry Pt. 1
Youth Ministry Is Highly Important
I have always heard teenagers are the church of tomorrow. They will be the ones filling our pulpits, teaching our Sunday school classes, and serving in leadership roles throughout the church. Such a thought is both scary and exciting. It is exciting because I see a very intelligent, outgoing generation, incredibly dedicated to their school work, sports, and their friends. However, it is scary because I also see a generation who has placed each of these previous mentioned items above their relationship with God. It is almost as if they have forgotten God; or worse, have never even known Him. This lack of commitment to God is what has led me to pursue youth ministry with a passion.
In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 we read the Shema Prayer:
4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
In verse 7 we read the command to diligently teach the Love of God to our children. Such a thought is important because God does not want the children of Israel to forget who He is and what He has done for them. Once they forget what God has done for them, their love for Him will fade over time and eventually they will leave Him for the worship of others.
This is proven to be true throughout the book of Judges. Judges 2:10 states:
When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.
This new generation which arose did not know the LORD or the works He had done for them. Their families did not obey the command that was given to them in Deuteronomy to teach them diligently every chance they got. Thus, sin controlled their lives and they were handed over to their enemies until they repented from sin, and were rescued through the judges.
Is it possible the reason young people today appear to be more devoted to outside interests is a result of the previous generation neglecting their responsibility to love the LORD with all their heart, soul, might; teaching their kids to do likewise? Unfortunately, this may be true. If this is true, the future of the church appears dim.
This is why youth ministry is so important! We need to be teaching our young people about Jesus. We need to teach about what Jesus did for us on Calvary. We need to share with them how Jesus has changed our lives. We need to show our youth, by following His commands, what kind of person Jesus has turned us into.
I currently serve as youth pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Piketon, Ohio. Over the past four years we have been blessed to see our youth ministry grow not only physically but spiritually. We have seen several kids give their hearts to Jesus and continue to grow into faithful disciples. Over the next four sessions we will take a closer look at different fundamental areas which have been effective for our youth ministry. We will then consider how these principles can make every youth minister, more effective in what they are doing.