Is Your Youth Ministry Doing the Job?
by John Clark
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A youth ministry should be fun and exciting, something that teens should look forward to. All of the great excitement is fine, of course, but with this there must be solid Bible teaching. Are teens seeing the relevancy of the Bible to the issues of life, and will they continue to use it as their "textbook for life" after they graduate from high school?
Statistics indicate that over half of young adults are leaving their faith after they venture out on their own, and they do not know what they believe, and why. In conjunction with the family and home life, convictions must be instilled. A conviction can be defined as a belief that is settled firmly in mind and heart that will not be compromised, no matter what the situation.
A love for the Word of God must be engrained if teens are to continue to pursue their faith, so they will be equipped against the ungodly forces and philosophies of the culture.
Biblical teaching must be seen apart from all of the fun and exciting activities. In other words, if solid Bible teaching is neglected, then the youth ministry has become nothing more than activities.
It needs to be seen as something that has practical relevance to the emotional and relational issues that teens struggle with. Teen depression and suicide are all too common. While it is true that youth ministries provide a safe haven for teens and a listening ear by another teen or youth pastor, it still does not replace the need for solid Bible teaching.
Is there some kind of structure incorporated into the ministry that is giving the youth a regular dose of spiritual truth? Are they learning how to study and intrepret the Bible on their own?
One of the biggest thrills a Christian parent or youth minister could have is to hear that a young person is continuing to read and study the Bible, and growing as a person, spiritually and emotionally, when away from the nurture and care of a Christian family or youth ministry. Take the Book of Proverbs, for example, with all of its practical wisdom. Our youth can begin to see, with proper teaching of this book and obedience to Scripture, how it can help spare them from much heartache and struggle, as well as living a full and productive life. One can also use many stories out of both the Old and New Testaments for teaching life application.
An ultimate goal of a youth ministry could be to instill a list of 10 things that they believe with conviction, based upon biblical teaching. As our teens go out on their own it is critical that they have solid biblical beliefs about godly dating, abortion, same-sex marriage, living together before marriage, a healthy and godly view of sex, and any other relevant issues. Do they know where they stand on these and other moral and cultural questions? The Bible has definite things to say on these subjects. Don't assume that just because they attend a Bible-believing church that they are holding proper beliefs. They must be taught what the Bible says concerning these issues.
Along with this, teens must be given the reasons why the Bible is considered to be inspired and credible for daily life and practice. Do they see it as more than something that is just read at church?
A youth ministry must go way beyond just getting them saved. It must encompass all of the things mentioned in this article, and must show them how to evaluate, using biblical truth as the standard, all cultural influences of music, movies, video games, and books.
So, how will the teens in your youth ministry do after they leave your watchful eye? Have they had only fun and food, which will not equip them for life, or have they also had biblical teaching that has fed them with uncompromising convictions?
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