Strategy for Youth Ministry
By Pastor Tom Anderson
Parents, I want to share with you the value of having your teens connected to Thrive Youth. Youth ministry is about the spiritual and moral formation of students and advancing them as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
The challenges facing our youth grow every year. Quick fixes and short-term programs will not provide the life-strengthening results needed for the teens of today. In his book Seven Checkpoints for Youth Ministry, Andy Stanley speaks on what is needed in the world of youth ministries around the country today. These points are foundational themes for what youth need to know.
Authentic faith–putting your trust in God
What destroys faith? Poor choices, unexplainable tragedy. Circumstantial faith depends on what we see and experience - it is based on our ability to interpret events and circumstances. It is fragile because it has a narrow frame of reference. Authentic faith looks at the whole picture - like Moses in the wilderness for 40 years before being sent back to Egypt. The foundation of Christian faith is a person, Jesus Christ, and not circumstances.
Spiritual Disciplines–seeing with God’s eyes
We must help youth develop consistent spiritual disciplines. Life change happens through the renewal of our minds. Old ways of thinking must be replaced by the truths of God's Word. Youth will never have transformed lives until they have transformed minds. A strong devotional life will develop a sense of relationship and accountability between youth and God.
Moral boundaries–paving the way for intimacy
We must teach youth that there are compelling reasons for keeping sex for marriage.God's will for youth is abstinence. 1 Thess 4:3-8. God wants us to be sanctified - to become Christlike.
Healthy friendships–choosing friends for life
Your friends will determine the quality and direction of your life. What makes for a healthy friendship? What makes for a destructive or dysfunctional relationship. How can I start and maintain good relationships with others?
Wise Choices–Walking wisely in a fool’s world.
It’s the best question ever: what is the wise choice? The choices teens make are full of consequences that set the direction of life. Choices must be made about time, money, dating, health, education. Teens need help discriminating between godly wisdom and feelings, wishes and desires.
Ultimate Authority–finding freedom under God
We are often told by society that freedom is answering to no one but yourself. This actually does not lead to peace and freedom. Maximum freedom is found under God’s authority. God’s authority is revealed in scripture, Jesus Christ and a life of prayer.
Others first–considering others before yourself.
In our society we are told to be a “somebody”. To make yourself great. However scripture says something very different. It says that when you make others first that is when you really become something. This is what Philippians 2 says about Jesus–he became a servant of all.
These are themes a healthy youth ministry will return to over and over. The point is to shape youth until these concepts become their second nature. Please be in prayer for our volunteer leaders as they continue to meet and shape the lives of our students!