LIFT 3:16 - Philosophy of Youth Ministry
A Philosophy of Ministry begins with an understanding of the ministry's purpose.
Why does the ministry exist? What is its function? What is it meant to accomplish?
Purpose for Ministry
Sandy Hill Community Church has discerned its purpose to be "Introduce people to Jesus Christ; train the church to become more like Him, and reproduce His life in others." We believe that LIFT 3:16, the Youth Ministry of Sandy Hill, should have the same basic purpose. Sandy Hill Youth Ministry's Purpose Statement is:
LIFT 3:16 exists to help students become disciples of Jesus Christ so that God can use them to Share Real Hope, Shine Christ's Light, and See Life Change.
Discipleship-Oriented Youth Ministry:
The central principle described in the above Purpose Statement is Christian Discipleship. This is the reason why "3:16" is part of the name of our Youth Ministry. In the New Testament of the Bible, there are a number of important 3:16's that drive a discipleship-focus ministry.
1) Salvation: Discipleship is about presenting the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, confronting students with their need to put their Faith/Trust in Jesus Christ for salvation and right relationship with God. (Acts 4:12; John 5:24; Ephesians 2:1-10; Romans 5:1-3)
2) Spiritual Maturity: Discipleship is about leading students in building upon the foundation of faith to become Disciples of Christ. They must be taught how to better know Him, follow Him, obey Him, and become ever more like Him. (Romans 12:1-2; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 John 2:15-17; Heb. 12:2-4)
3) Christian Service: Discipleship is about helping students realize their call and Spiritual gifts towards advancing the kingdom mission of Christ in the church and in the world. (Matthew 20:25-28; John 13:12-17; 2 Corinthians 4:7-12; 1 Peter 4:10)
4) Leadership: Discipleship is about equipping students to become "disciple- makers", those who are ready and able to lead others towards faith, in spiritual maturity, and in Christian service. (John 15:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; 1 Timothy 4:11-16)
How does Sandy Hill Youth Ministry work at Discipleship? Below are five Core-Values for a Discipleship-Oriented Youth Ministry. This list is not exhaustive, but lists the five areas of Discipleship Ministry that are close to the heart of Sandy Hill Youth and Church.
1) Relational- Discipleship cannot happen without Relationship. A lot of time and energy will go into relationship/community building. Much of student discipleship happens while "en route" to something...like running errands or getting a burger. In these moments, Youth Leaders can encourage, teach, and model life in Christ.
a. Relationships Build Trust- It is important that students are able to trust their Leaders. It often through trust between Youth Leaders and Youth that students learn to trust in Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:12)
b. Relationships Help Build Leaders - Mentoring relationships between Youth and Youth Leaders are a way for Youth to learn responsibility and grow in leadership skills
2) Enjoyable- If Youth Group activities are not enjoyable to students, they aren't going to want to participate. Not everything has to be a fun-filled extravaganza. But, it should be meaningful, stimulating, and exciting to students. This can happen when activities are:
a. Excellent- When something is done well, people want to be involved
b. Well Planned- A clear purpose and meaningful plan helps students stay focused and interested
c. Creative- The "old, old story" must be told in a fresh, compelling way and in a language that resonates with Youth of varying ages.
3) Evangelistic- The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the foundation to help students become devoted followers of Jesus:
a. Bible Study- Our goal is that every student will encounter Jesus through God's eternally, true Word. Youth are taught to study, live, and defend God's scriptures. (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17)
b. Personal Testimony- Every follower of Jesus has a story about their faith journey. Youth Leaders and Students are encouraged to share their story of faith and salvation in Jesus Christ (Psalm 71:17-18, John 5:24-26).
c. Mission/Service- Opportunities are made available for Youth to become the hands, feet, and mouth of Christ to people. (Mt. 25:40)
4) Christ-Honoring- All things done must exalt Jesus Christ. All Youth Ministry activities and events are designed with the ideal in mind to encourage a lifestyle that honors Christ through:
a. Worship- Youth are encouraged to attend Worship Services at Sandy Hill Community Church as well as participate in the various Ministries that serve each week. Also, opportunities for Worship concerts and other fine arts presentations are made available (Psalm 113:1-3)
b. Prayer- Students are taught that prayer is for every area of their lives and encouraged to involve God in every decision, struggle, joy. (Philippians 4:4-7)
c. Spiritual Disciplines- Youth are taught what the Bible has to say about things like daily prayer times and Bible study, intercession, tithing, fasting, and confession (Romans 12:1-2)
d. Integrity- Youth are taught and Youth Leaders model Christian morality and Biblical ethics to represent God well.
5) Sustainable- The Youth Ministry of Sandy Hill must be able to last longer than its present leaders and students and remain healthy in the midst of change and adversity: (Philippians 1:6)
a. Healthy Leaders- The Spiritual, Emotional, and Personal health of Youth Leaders is a key to a strong, lasting foundation for Youth Ministry. Youth Leaders meet regularly to encourage and uplift one another. They are encouraged to take time away from ministry when needed to stay vital.
b. Long-Term Leadership- There must be a core of called and equipped leaders who are committed to long-term Youth Ministry.
c. Shared Commitment- Youth Ministry will only be lasting if it is shared by the church's leaders, the congregation, the student's parents and the students themselves. This takes a humble/ servant-like attitude. (Philippians 2:5-6)