The goal is to teach young people in the church to continue to trust and grow in their relationship with God. This experience will prompt them to be faithful to Christ in everything they do as they age. The church itself flourishes in this way, together with the congregation. So, with all the crazy hustle and bustle of raising a teenager, it's easy to let youth group attendance go off the grid.
It's tempting to think, “My son is too busy to spend a night with other teenagers, play silly games, and listen to another Bible lesson. But why is the youth group important to the faith of their children? Students want to learn from people who care about them; they want to be discovered and known. When youth ministries create opportunities for students to build meaningful relationships with adult believers, they lay the foundation for evangelism and discipleship. Ultimately, helping young people grow spiritually in their formative years will equip them to have an impact on Christ both now and in their future.
In healthy youth ministry, every aspect of ministry programming is linked to the mission of youth ministry and everyone (parents, students, and adult volunteers) knows the purpose of each event. But studies also suggest that students who have multiple adult believers who intentionally invest in their lives are more likely to stay connected to the church and thrive in their faith, even after they graduate. Youth groups exist to establish meaningful relationships between mature adult believers and students for the purpose of helping the student grow in their relationship with the Lord. In addition, they must understand modern influences on Christianity, which allow them to identify with young people and build meaningful relationships with them.
In a healthy youth ministry, every aspect of ministry serves as a leadership laboratory for the development of student leaders. Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization that focuses on students and youth workers. Empowering young people to lead the cause of Christ and apply Christianity to all areas of life is what youth ministry is all about. At a time when terms related to “church growth” have praiseworthy status in ministerial leadership circles, the result may be low-quality youth ministry.
Youth ministry is a series of programs and activities to give young people the opportunity to participate in the life of the Church, develop their own faith and spirituality, and discover new friendships. Those goals are important and have their place, but they cannot be the main driving force behind creating an effective youth ministry. We expect every teen to participate in worship and be connected to the entire life of the church; youth ministry is just an extension of congregational ministry specific to that age group. Young people need guidance and support as they go through the most difficult part of their development and seek to grow in their walk with Christ.