Moving Toward a Biblical Model of Youth Ministry
What does the Bible say about Youth Ministry? Well, it doesn’t talk about Youth Pastors, Weekend Retreats, or age segregated Sunday School classes. It definitely doesn’t say anything about Summer Camp, water balloons, or wacky games.
But the Bible does have a lot to say about raising children into responsible, godly adults. For example, Deuteronomy 6 gives families and especially fathers the responsibility for raising kids that love God.
The entire book of Proverbs is basically a letter from a father to his son, telling him how to become a righteous man.
Psalm 119:9 tells us how a young man can keep his way pure — by living it according to God’s word.
Paul exhorts Titus to “Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”
Which is basically 1.) teach young men to be self controlled, and 2.) be a good example for younger men.
Paul also told Titus that the older women should teach the younger women (Titus 2:3-4). So in group settings, it is okay to teach and preach to everyone, but in one-on-one or counseling situations it is better to have an adult woman in the church doing those ministries.
So what does all this mean? Let me break it down for you.
- Parents are the most important and most useful youth ministers. Youth pastors need to minister to parents.
- Older men should teach younger men.
- Older women should teach younger women.
- Teach the youth how to live according to God’s word.
- Live a life worthy of God’s word — that is — SHOW them how to live according to God’s word. Be an example in Godliness.
Should we give up on youth ministry? Some have. I have not. I don’t believe we should cancel our youth programs. I DO think we need to emphasize that parents are the real youth ministers. They have the biggest effect on their kids’ lives (whether good or bad). We need to reach out to parents and encourage them, to help give them tools (like James Dobson’s books), and to love them.
Some youth don’t have parents who love Christ. We can’t rely on non-Christians to share Christ with their kids. I’ve recently come to the conclusion (all of 5 minutes ago) that real discipleship is really loving someone. Jesus loved his disciples, so he taught them, he cared for them, and he spent time with them. To make disciples of our youth, we need to spend time with them showing them HOW we live OUR lives for Christ. We need to teach them God’s standards and how they can never live up to it apart from trusting in Jesus Christ.
We must press on toward the goal.