I have been serving teens now for 15 years as a volunteer and on staff at different churches, and I still need to be reminded why youth ministry is important. I need to be reminded because the truth is that student ministry can be difficult. Many times it’s just easier to let teens do what they want and think they don’t desire or need adults in their lives. It may be easy to ignore them, but the truth is that they are desperate for adults to actually show up and invest in their life on a consistent basis. Consistency is big because so much of life today is inconsistent. The typical American dream is fading. Family life is always changing. Teens are being forced to make choices about their future (college and career) at a time when they are just figuring out who they are. Teens need consistency and they need it from the church more than ever. We named our student ministry Relevant Student Ministry because we really believe that in a culture that is continually changing, Jesus is the one thing that will always be unchanging. Jesus is relevant today and forever. Student ministries all across the country have the chance to partner with the church and with families to lead teens to Jesus. That’s why what we do in youth ministry is important. Here are three factors that make what we do in youth ministry significant for the future of the church…
- Youth ministry is discipleship, not just gathering a crowd. Our goal is to help teens follow Christ with all of their life. We are not just trying to reach teens, we are also trying to shape them to look more like Jesus. This is not hype. We see this happen by leading teens to engage in worship, study God’s Word through relevant teaching, and process faith through small groups led by adult mentors. Our hope is to lead teens to be followers of Jesus with all their life.
- Youth ministry can reach teens in a city for the Church not just a church. Many teens don’t go to their church because it’s unhealthy and they know it is not working. Youth ministry gives us a chance to reach teens in our city and lead them to Christ. Youth ministry is not just about a single church, it is about advancing the mission of the universal Church God is advancing. We have reached teens in our city who will then plug into church with their family at a different church. We are here to serve our city, not just our church.
- Youth ministry can connect teens to the mission of the church. Teens need a bridge to encounter the larger mission of the church, and we can be that bridge. Teens can serve now with other adults in the church. Teens can go on mission trips now with the church. Teens can worship and grow together with the church. Connect a teen to the church today and they will connect with the church in college!