Today Dr. Jody Dean join us and asks the question, “Is Youth Ministry Biblical?” Jody serves as the Director of Mentoring Programs in Christian Education at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He’s been a student minister, a children’s minister and has served churches as interim pastor. He’s a brings a wealth of experience to share in today’s post.
As we come to look at the local church and we look at how God orchestrated it, we find that there are preschoolers, children, youth, college students, young, median and senior adults. And I don’t think we want any of those groups to be left out in our congregation. I think youth ministry is vital for several reasons, but I want you to consider today the reciprocal aspect of youth ministry. It’s not so much a question of how can the church minster to teenagers, as much as how teenagers can minster to the church.
How many churches can do V.B.S without a youth ministry? Someone has to have help with recreation. Someone has to help with snacks. Although there may be churches with a limited number of teenagers that are still able to have a quality V.B.S, V.B.S has always been that one-time reminder that youth ministry is a vital part of the church. As a youth minster I was always called by the V.B.S director and asked “How many youth workers do you think we’re going to have this year? And do you think they could help in this class and could they help with this activity and could they be a part here?’
Many people come from the aspect that we see children in the bible and we see adults, but we didn’t really see teenagers. In our society we really didn’t see teenagers till about the last hundred years. Why? Well our society decided that there should be child labor laws. Our society decided that there should be public high school. And so we created a time where children could postpone growing up till eighteen. When do you vote, twelve? No, you vote at eighteen. When do you do qualify for military service, fourteen? No, eighteen. So the reality is that our society has allowed children to extend and we called it teenagers.
I think when Jesus was with the disciples and they were interacting with a child and children among them and Jesus said ‘you better create a pathway for these children. You better not hinder these children to come to me.’ I believe teenagers are part of that equation in the society we have created. The reality is that they are not full adults until they are eighteen. We’re even seeing adolescence extend a little bit with the college world where students are not taking full responsibility for their own bills and their own actions until even beyond college.
So the reality for you and I, is youth ministry biblical? Yes, because reaching all people for Christ is biblical. The great commissions does not exclude students. So I believe for you and I we need to be reaching and making disciples of all generations within our churches.
How you do youth ministry in your church may look different than another church. I hope that when you count the cost and you are planning what God has called you to do in that community he has placed you, that youth ministry is not only a vital part, but it is a part that reaches out into your community beyond your congregation. That you’re senior adults see the buy in because youth are pouring into their life as well, that adults see the buy in because parents are being discipled.
There are three areas of consideration in youth ministry:
- We have to come alongside parents in youth ministry.
- We have to come alongside the teenagers in youth ministry.
- We have to come alongside the adult leaders in youth ministry.
Those three areas will guarantee youth ministry remains important in the work of your church. All three in our youth ministry have to be equipped. They each have gifts. It’ s amazing to see what youth can do in the church.
So you ask, “is youth ministry biblical?” Yes, because we are to equip all Christians for the work of ministry and youth have gifts that can be used in the local church. Please plug youth into the life of your church and have a reciprocal youth ministry that minsters to the other people of the church that minsters to the youth.