Why do we do the things we do? What is the process by which we choose one event over another? What influences the decisions to offer a particular program, activity, or special event?
These are all questions I hope you are asking when it comes to your kids. I hope you don't simply drop them off at the church hoping maybe they'll get something for coming. Youth need to know certain things before they graduate high school. The youth ministry is purposefully designed around ten top things we want to see accomplished in the lives of the kids. Some of these directly influence their lives and other do so indirectly, but all of them are designed to bring about a particular result.
I recognize you may not want to know the "nitty gritty" details of why we do what we do. So, I've recently designed a simple format that helps to clarify our purposes. They are not in an chronological order. Some of them are emphasized more than the others at different times, but they all are things we would like to see accomplished...they would leave us with a sense that we are being successful.
Anyone can plan stuff to fill a calendar. That's easy to do. And in this day and age I receive more emails and junk mail from thousands of organizations offering things to do. The scary thing is that I actually have seen church youth ministries operate under a "cram-the-calendar full of stuff" ideaology. God is not a God of disorder and His ministries have no right to behave in a disorderly manner.
Well, enough philosophy. Here is the top ten things we are trying to accomplish for the Lord.
Based upon a foundation of prayer...we desire to:
1. Reach as many youth as possible to surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
2. Train and equip Christian youth to live for and follow Jesus with their lives.
3. Create a weekly program where Christian youth can worship Jesus and bring their friends to hear the Good News about Jesus.
4. Teach the Bible to youth...a comprehensive approach that guide youth to know God's Word.
5. Build significant relationships between youth and the youth ministers (Adult workers).
6. Build a connection between the church congregation and the young people.
7. Raise awareness of the youth ministry to the church congregation.
8. Build meaningful relationships with the youth ministers to equip them for ministry.
9. Connect with the parents of youth by partnering with them in raising Godly children.
10. Instill in youth a vision for missions and global development with a Kingdom perspective.
Now, if you can bear with me a little bit longer, I'd like to give examples below of how specifically we are doing these 10 items right now within the programs, activitiies, and events:
Based upon a foundation of prayer (Shout PMI - you'll learn more about this later)
1. This is a part of everything we do...constantly giving youth chances to make Jesus Lord.
2. DFG - its solely about seeing them grow in their faith
3. Elevate youth worship on Wednesday nights
4. Sunday School, every Sunday at 9:30-10:25 am
5. Using youth ministers as chaperones to Summit, camp and other key events.
6. Personal salvation testimonies from adults to youth at Elevate.
7. Bulletin ads, speaking to age groups within church about youth ministry.
8. Salt dinners (these are lunch meetings with youth ministers for encouragment and planning)..
9. Recently we offered the "Parent Fuel" course in Life University.
10. MissionLab New Orleans and volunteering to work church VBS.
If I could sum up in one sentence what these top ten things are, I'd say the following (in fact, you'll see this one sentence on almost every piece of paper that comes out of my office...so, next time you see it, you'll know that one sentence actually represents ten goals we hope to achieve):
"To create life change in youth through Jesus
so they can become life-changers to the world for Jesus."
Thanks for letting me take all this time and space to let you know about the Top 10! Its really important to me that parents understand the bigger picture and just not receive info about event details, costs, etc. We've certainly not arrived where God would have us be, but we are on the right path. I cherish your prayers and always welcome your involvement. God bless you and your family for Christ!