Unseen Youth Ministry

10 Dec

Many of you will be familiar with the most visible aspect of our Youth Ministry at SNAC. Every Friday we pack into the hall at St James for Fuel (yr7-9) or hang out in the church building for Ignite (yr10-12). These groups are a key part of our teaching and fellowship together, but they are not the only thing we do.

Behind the Friday gatherings lies the ongoing ministry of the leaders with their small groups. From a follow up phone call, a short encouraging text message or a trip to the local takeaway or aquarium, this more intensive element of our ministry is where the bulk of our discipleship happens. As leaders and youth spend time ‘doing life together’, many crucial ministry moments take place. Discussions about Christian life, hard questions, modeling Christian living in everyday situations and building genuine trusting friendships are just some of the great ministry moments that I’ve seen take place this year. One group even meets together every week one afternoon after school to drink milkshakes and read the Bible together!

Break this down another level and we have the one-to-one ministry that happens within the small groups. This tends to be more of an element of our senior youth ministry than our juniors. Leaders spend time sharing their lives and investing in the youth in their small groups on a regular one-to-one basis. One leader meets with one of her girls every two weeks for breakfast at a local café where they read the Bible and pray. Another leader meets with 3 girls for a run followed by Bible reading and prayer. The growth in godliness and wisdom in the youth who’ve had this kind of intensive investment is one of the things that I find most encouraging about what we do.

One final ‘unseen’ element of our youth ministry happens every Sunday before Church in the Bank between 6:00 and 6:45. For the last 3 years I have been running a group called ‘Commitments’. The name states something about the identity and purpose of the group. Essentially, it is for any of the youth who want to commit to love and serve their peers. They commit:

To loving Jesus,

To loving their youth community

To commitments

To being trained and equipped to better love and serve Jesus and their peers.

Each week we will either read the Bible together, read a theological article or chapter from a book, engage in training, talk about our ministry experiences and encourage each other to ‘build up the body of Christ’ through ‘speaking the truth in love’. (In fact Eph 4 along with Col 1:28 is one of the key passages that we strive to put into practice together each week- why not read them yourself and join us in that endeavor!)  It is amazing to read an article on the atonement or union with Christ with high schoolers who want to know Jesus better and see them willingly push themselves so that they can help others to know him better too. We often have small challenges that come out of our reading and training, and these too are a source of encouragement as I watch them step out of their comfort zones so that they can put others first. In particular, the way that they have shown initiative in discipling younger members of the youth ministry is a great encouragement to me.

While our more visible Friday ministry is important, it is only one element of what we do. In the end, we are about disciples making disciples, and that requires more than 2 hours on a Friday! Please join me in praying for these unseen elements of the youth ministry, and for the leaders who invest many hours into them.

In Christ,

Brendan Moar.

 

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