The command for Israel to teach God’s precepts to future generations (Deuteronomy 6) is a natural and necessary pattern for the church to follow.
We believe in investing in our youth. Young people are the future of the church as well as our nation.
The command for Israel to teach God’s precepts to future generations (Deuteronomy 6) is a natural and necessary pattern for the church to follow. The leadership and teaching team of Community Bible Church is fully committed to partnering with parents in the training of children (Proverbs 22:6; Ecclesiastes 12:1; Ephesians 6:4b).
As with the general ministries of the church, youth ministry has three directions of responsibility:
- Towards God (worship)
- Towards believers in the church (ministry of the Word—teaching, preaching, discipleship, and fellowship)
- Towards the lost outside the church (evangelism)
In applying these to the youth ministry, there must be flexibility in balancing the second and third responsibilities. The emphasis on either direction of responsibility will vary, depending on the proportion of unsaved/unchurched youth to saved/churched youth. In some cases, it may be wise to keep these two ministry responsibilities as separate ministries rather than trying to accomplish both goals within the same program.
Goals of Ministry:
- To glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 11:36)
- To accurately teach the Bible in a way that will positively impact the lives of teens through Christian growth (1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 2:2, 24-26)
- To identify and cultivate spiritual gifts and how their use fits the ministry needs of the church (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 1Timothy 4:14)
- To equip for ministry in the church (Ephesians 4:12)
- To equip for evangelism (1 Peter 3:18)
- To equip for facing the challenges of contemporary culture and for victory over those challenges (Ephesians 5:15-17; 6:10-11; 2 Timothy 2:22-23; Jude 3)
- To equip as lights in a dark world (Matthew 5:14-16; Ephesians 5:8)
Responsibilities of Ministry.
Those involved in teaching ministry are expected to:
- Directly teach the Bible accurately and effectively (Acts 20:27; 1 Timothy 4:11; 2 Timothy 2:2; 4:1-2; Titus 2:1)
- Inspire their students—through their teaching and character motivate, excite, stir up (Hebrews 10:24; 2 Peter 1:12-13; 3:1)
- Lead by example—model the scriptural truths being taught in love, faith, purity, and godliness (1 Timothy 1:16; 4:12; 6:11-14; 2 Timothy 2:21)
- In all ministry, to be motivated by love and desire for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Timothy 1:5)
The teaching/discipleship ministries of the church are assumed to be in partnership with Christian families of the church. Parents have the primary responsibility of training their children, including leading them to Christ, introducing them to the basics of Scripture, establishing them in the fundamental doctrines of the faith, and nurturing their spiritual growth through discipleship. Yet the time a child comes to faith in Christ is often outside of the parents’ control, being the work of the Holy Spirit. Some may not come to faith while still under the parents’ authority, and some not at all. Yet the family is still the first place of instruction for the child. It is also recognized that some youth who attend may have unsaved parents who do not reinforce the principles and values taught at Community Bible Church, and in some cases may even be opposed to them. It is often difficult to discern if parental authority is being subverted in such cases, and leaders and teachers must be prayerfully alert to situations. The elders of the church should be available for conflict resolution when parents feel their authority is being undermined.
The ministries of the church serve alongside the family’s mission, providing reinforcement of teaching, supplemental teaching, corrective teaching, and a community of believers who can support and encourage young disciples (and their parents) and give them opportunities of service as they mature. For young people, part of that community is also the cohort of their peers, who share in common, not only the same teaching, but the challenges and life struggles of their age group.
Because a youth ministry is focused on a specific age group singled out from the congregation, it provides a unique opportunity to provide ministry to youth based on the unique needs and challenges they face. Therefore, the leadership in such a ministry should be alert to those needs and challenges, cultivating open communication with the group and sensitivity to the needs expressed. This can be a particularly vulnerable time in the lives of young people, and youth leaders must be attuned to the threats of society and culture, ready to teach, counsel, and exhort when danger appears.
Teaching topics and activities should be focused on addressing the emergent needs of the group. Published teaching materials, whether print or electronic media, should be carefully screened by the elders and youth leadership staff to ascertain
- Congruency with the Bible, our doctrinal statement, and stated positions of the church
- Presence of any material of questionable spiritual value or moral offensiveness
- Educational integrity, clarity, and comprehensiveness
- How well the targeted need is addressed
Besides the elders and youth leadership staff, parents should be welcomed to be part of the screening process, although the final decision to adopt or reject should lie with the elders (church leadership) and those to whom that responsibility is delegated.
Activities and outings involving other churches and ministries should also be screened. These can be of great value in providing fellowship with youth peers in other churches, variety of Bible teaching ministries, and opportunities to reach unsaved youth and challenged the saved to deepen or recommit in their spiritual lives. As with the screening of teaching materials, care should be taken that these events do not introduce content that could undermine the positions of the church or lead young people away from biblical teaching.
Open communication among the elders, teaching and activity staff, and parents should be actively cultivated. The elder responsible for youth ministries should always be kept informed of scheduled activities, as well as any issues that may arise that could adversely affect the youth group and/or the church. If any meetings among any of these groups yield decisions which impact the youth ministry, all interested parties should be informed in a timely manner.
All personnel working with youth or children should have the appropriate background checks and clearances required by the church.
When teaching content that deals with sexual immorality and sensitive relational issues, the class should be divided by gender with women teaching girls and men teaching boys. This may not be necessary if the content is a passing or general reference, or if the topic is dealt with in a general way. But if the material will be in depth and introducing specifics, or if there is discussion among the group that might involve personal experiences, the segregated groups are a must. If there is any doubt, it should be discussed with the elder responsible for youth ministries as well as other teachers.
Under no circumstances should an unrelated adult and a child of either sex be alone together, either at the church or at off-site activities, including in homes. If a private discussion is necessary, it should be done in an area visible to others while maintaining aural privacy.
All teaching staff should be aware of available counseling services and intervention resources should the need arise. Teachers should be briefed on who the appropriate contacts are for such services. Timely intervention may be critical in cases of sexual abuse, substance abuse, or suicidal tendencies.
When off-site activities are planned, the appropriate permission slips/waivers must be obtained, signed by a parent or guardian.