What Should Be The Youth Vision Of The Churches?
In thinking about a determined ministry comprising youth vision, the church should consider an ignored premise. It's simple, yet it's a game-changer. Missing it can lead to a quagmire of strife or a way to exit. The basic tenet is that people start as they go. For many churches, youth ministry was an oddity for decades.
The church hired professionals who were really just young men and women who could connect with teenagers through their youth vision. The church felt they understood best how to reach and minister to teens, and they did. The youth ministry stood out from the rest of the church. The church decided that youth culture warranted its own approach. By doing so, The church unintentionally disconnects the church and youth ministry, creating a chasm.
After twenty-seven years of full-time ministry, I've seen the effects of theological and vision differences between a youth ministry and a congregation. These have resulted in messy conflicts or both. Consistency of theological convictions between youth ministry and church leaders is required to avoid a jumble of disagreements. One Calvinistic congregation employed a youth pastor who admired Wesley. It took six months of staff theological conflict to let go. Theological differences influenced the youth ministry's methodology as well as staff conversations.
They've talked to non-charismatic pastors who discovered their youth group leaders were charismatic. The youngsters were doing things that the rest of the church would not approve of. Removing leaders on religious grounds is difficult since teen loyalty is focused on relationships, not theological differences.
In some reformed Anglican churches, they saw youth leaders who led their groups in Catholic spiritual practices that the clergy despised. Any theological differences might be challenging and confrontational. The outcome will be a loss of leaders and, in the worst situations, a severe fall in the young organization. Lessons in theology should be taught that students will cherish and seek out throughout their life. This can only happen if our youth ministries are theologically sound.
Making sure that a path to leave is not created rests heavily on the consistency of vision between the youth ministry and other parts of the congregation. When a church places a high emphasis on biblical preaching and teaching, but a youth group places a high value on sports and entertainment, students are less likely to become involved in the life of the church over time.
Even if they don't seek anything else once they grow out of the youth group, they will at the very least look for an enjoyable church to attend. The students will easily feel unsupported and possibly ununderstood if their congregation is not very mission-oriented but their youth ministry is. They've seen multiple situations when churches have engaged young pastors who were very evangelistically motivated, but the congregation as a whole was not that motivated.
The final result was a youth group in which 80 percent or more of the participants were not members of the church, and the church leadership did not see a compelling reason to continue to hire someone whose primary function involves working with students from outside the congregation. It is possible that reaching a large number of unchurched students will cause the "church kids" to lose interest in youth organizations unless everyone in the congregation (young and old) sets a high value on reaching the unreachable.
Their hope should be that those who grow up in their churches would continue to participate not only as students but throughout their entire lives. It is essential for such a continuance to take place that the vision of the youth ministry and the congregation are consistent. Students should be encouraged to join a church like theirs, even in situations where they are more likely to move away for college and not return. In order to do so, kids must be exposed to the vision and mission of the church through the youth ministry in order to seek out a church with similar vision and values in the future.
Teach young people in the church how to grow in their relationship with the Lord, and they will be better prepared to serve God in everything they do. As a result, the congregation is nurtured and the church is able to develop a result.
The church wants children to settle into a church like theirs, even if they tend to leave for college and never return. To do so, students must be exposed to the church's mission and ideals through the youth vision ministry. The goal of successful youth ministry is faith transmission. The church desires to make lifelong disciples of God and keep their churches alive for future generations to worship and flourish. The current generation of young adults who grew up in youth groups is generally unchurched. So they must take seriously the axiom that people start as they end. That should help us develop a connection between church and youth groups.
Concerning vision and mission, theological and biblical consistency is required. While this is only one element of the issue, it will go a long way toward addressing the oddity of youth vision ministries that do not represent the church's vision and mission.