A new year is a great time to reflect on your ministry to young people, whether children or teenagers, and how you communicate this ministry to those involved. It is always worth confirming that the people you are serving and those you are serving with are on the same page. Below are some questions to help you think this through as you kick off a new year.
Firstly, who are those key groups involved with this ministry? Young people and other leaders can be obvious inclusions, but parents, staff, prayer teams and the wider congregations can all play their part, if given the opportunity. When the whole church shares in ministering to children and teenagers, this prevents it from becoming a ‘parallel’ ministry and better connects young people within the life of the church community.
Have you clarified what it is you’re doing in this ministry? Can your leaders and the young people themselves articulate this? Consider how young people describe the group to their friends, especially as they invite them along. Help them to share why it is good to meet with other Christians and be encouraged by them.
Whilst it’s important to define the ‘what’, knowing the ‘why’ behind it is the key. Take some time to explain to those involved in ministry the basis for the group. It may feel repetitive, but it’s vital to keep coming back to how the Gospel shapes and motivates this ministry.
It is easy to assume that everyone in a ministry knows what is expected from them. However, it’s always a good idea to be clear about what the expectations are for those involved. For leaders, write out what the commitment of being a leader means. For young people, the expectation of how they will relate to the rest of the group. For other stakeholders, how they can help create an environment of support and what that will involve. Each of these can be done with the leaders, young people or supporters to increase ownership of these expectations.
This year, leave the unsaid assumptions behind and talk with young people and those invested in the young people of your church family. Let’s work together to help young people know and follow our Lord Jesus Christ.