What is the goal of youth ministry? Ephesians 4:11-12 states, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up of the body of Christ…” Paul tells us that God gave teachers for the purpose of helping believers minister for the Kingdom of God. He raises up people who will encourage and train others to live for Christ and so see the body of Christ built up. The goal of youth ministry to equip teenage saints to do the work of the ministry.
Ben Trueblood comments that we technically only get two days with our students each year. If we meet for an hour each week, we only have 52 hours. Then, we will miss a couple of weeks because of trips and events. So we are really looking at less than two days a year. We have a short window to disciple the students that God has entrusted to us.
The question before us is what should we do each week when we meet? If you look in Acts, the first believers devoted themselves “to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). These were the things that the first believers thought were very important. This verse serves as a guide for my ministry. If we want to see students who act like real believers then we need to at least do these three things when we meet:
Teach—“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:9). God has chosen to work through the teaching of his Word. In fact, the disciples felt so strongly about this that they said, “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). There were many needs that came up and the disciples made a conscious decision to focus on prayer and ministry of the Word. The same is true in youth ministry. The most important thing we can do at each meeting is teach the Word.
- Consider teaching through books of the Bible. If you prefer to teach about topics, then do the hard work of understanding what the original meaning of the passage is before you apply it to the topic you are teaching on.
- Consider teaching a follow-up lesson of what the pastor preached the previous Sunday.
- The Gospel Project is a great option for Sunday School. In Fall 2015, they are rolling out a mid-week option that allows you follow-up on what you are doing for Sunday School. It even comes with video and song ideas.
Fellowship—Every meeting should have some element of fellowship incorporated into it. All believers need to fellowship with one another. They need to interact, encourage, and know one another. This can take place in many ways.
- Consider encouraging students to come early to hang out.
- Consider serving eating a meal with your students each week.
- Consider planning games and activities that get the students interacting with one another.
- Consider having small group discussion a couple of time a month to get students connecting on a deeper level.
Prayer—Disciples pray together. Disciples pray for one another. We have the opportunity each week to model passionate and authentic prayer. They get to see in you, and in your leaders, genuine communication with the God of the universe. Make sure to take time each week to pray with your students.
- Pray about specific requests. Consider keeping a journal and asking students later about their request.
- Pray for a particular missionary
- Pray for their lost friends
- Pray for their schools
- Pray for their family relationships
- Pray for their purity.
- Really pray about the situations in their lives. Let God be the one who works. Prayer communicates that we really are dependent upon God.
There are many elements that you can plan into a weekly meeting, but at the core you need to do at least these three things: teach the Word, fellowship, and pray. Videos come and go. Games come and go. Events come and go. Budgets come and go. But you can always do these three things regardless of your situation.