Children and youth ministry @ ECCC
The youth and children’s ministry is an integral part of any church. At present we have a wonderful and dedicated group of teachers and leaders. We are very thankful to these volunteers and we want to honour their hard work by supporting them as parents and church leaders. But we are facing some challenges. Here are four reasons these ministries are important :
1. Gospel opportunities abound
Matt Godfrey visited our church recently to talk about the work of Scripture Union. He started off by doing an exercise: the whole congregation was asked to stand. Matt then asked each person to sit down according to the age when they became a Christian. He then called out age boundaries: “before you were… 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18”. The point of the exercise was that, 70% of people became a Christians before they were 18.
There are many opportunities to produce gospel fruit in youth and children’s ministry. We should be serious about this time in people’s lives.
2. A church should be a family
There are many metaphors that the New Testament uses to help us understand the nature of a church. Do you know which is used most frequently? Brothers, sisters, children, mothers and fathers. The New Testament refers to the Christian community as a family because we are bound by a depth of relationship that can only be represented by FAMILY! Although there are many different kinds of families in the world today, any family without children will only last one or two generations.
3. Effective youth and children’s ministry holds families
As important as it is that there is a breadth of ages represented in our church, it is also vital that there are parents and children who are in the same life stage. People need a community with others who are at a common life stage. Our church is unlikely to have a children’s church 100 strong, but we can certainly want to attract and retain parents and children so that there is a core of families that can share fellowship
4. Youth and children challenge us and help us change
The young people of our church are on the cutting edge of technology and are the least change-averse of all people. The older you get the more you want things to ‘just be the same’. But any church that is going to keep ministering the gospel effectively in their culture will need to be in touch with that culture. Young people and young families are one of the best ways for us to keep this connection.
So let’s talk…
On account of this we are calling a meeting of all youth leaders, teachers, parents and church leaders of our church to understand our needs and plan for the future. We will meet after a morning church service for about an hour to have a conversation about these matters. We would certainly encourage all those who are directly affected to attend and the rest of us to pray about these matters.
To prepare your thinking (and guide your prayers), I would imagine our discussion will include some of the following matters:
- The drop off in attendance in the older grades of primary school
- Friday youth group programs
- Volunteers: children’s church teachers and youth leaders
- Involvement of our youth in teaching and other ministry
- Material used in children’s church
- Involvement of parents in the programs
- Others matters that you may want to raise