Youth ministry in the church tends to be thought of in two particular ways. On the one hand, there are those who think youth ministry is the primary means by which young people are to grow and mature in their spiritual lives. For others, youth ministry seems improper, immature, and inconsistent as a method for helping our youth develop in the life of the church. These "all or nothing" approaches to student ministries can be unhelpful and imbalanced.
A proper understanding of youth ministry begins with a right understanding of God's design for both the home and His church. In creation, God established the family as the central institution for mankind's progress and the well-being of society (Gen. 1:28; Deut. 6:6– 7). In Christ, God has etablished the church as the pillar and buttress of truth for the family of God (1 Tim. 3:15). Through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have a responsibility to boldly declare and devote ourselves to the truth in a way that blesses, encourages, and supports God-honoring families.
In light of this, student ministries at Grace Church are a means by which we seek to proclaim Christ and come alongside the families in our church through rich, meaningful, and intentional investment in our young people. There are three key priorities that guide us as we seek to minister to our youth:
1. Gospel Partnership
The work of youth ministry is meant to support the diligent, godly parenting that happens within our church's families (Deut. 4:9). The most successful version of this ministry is one that prioritizes the spiritual renewal of its young people and is available to their caring parents. The partnership between leaders and parents is crucial to our efforts with students.
2. Gospel Proclamation
Our main goal is to clearly communicate the saving and life-transforming gospel of Jesus Christ (Col. 1:28). Through dedication to God's Word, trust in the Spirit's work, and meaningful discipleship, we aim to help students know and love Jesus as Lord. The beauty of proclaiming the truth of the gospel is that it also exposes the truth of the heart (Lk. 8:4-16). We want students to not only know the truth about God, but also to know exactly where they stand before Him. What lies at the heart of our ministry efforts is a desire that those who do not know Christ would be saved and those who love Him would continuously be sanctified.
3. Gospel Progress
As students come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus, we want to ensure they are equipped for every good work (Eph. 2:10), emboldened to declare the good news of the gospel (1 Pet. 3:15), and encouraged amidst the sins and sorrows that are faced even as new creatures in Christ (1 Thess. 5:11). Being in youth ministry affords students an opportunity to have godly, like-minded peers and also to be poured into by older, wiser leaders who desire to build up the next generation of churchmen and women.
As we embark upon a busy season of youth ministry, please pray for the upcoming activities, summer camps, small group sessions, Bible studies, and outreach efforts all designed to make the gospel known and cherished in the hearts of our students. Pray that in these ministries souls would be won to Christ and that those who do love Him would deepen their walk with Him.
Please also pray for the 100+ faithful and godly volunteer staff who regularly give of their time and resources to make an impact on the students through teaching, training, and discipleship.
It is one of our greatest joys as a church to provide these kinds of ministries that help support the many beloved families at Grace and even serve as a blessing to our community. It is a thrill to see the gospel alive and at work in the lives of so many young hearts as Christ continues to build His church.