I. Statement of Purpose

To mobilize an army of youth who intimately love Jesus and want to share him with others.

II. What is Ministry?

To use your life to make a spiritual difference in the life of another person.

III. Philosophy, Strategy and Program

PHILOSOPHY

1. YOUTH MATTER TO GOD (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8)

In today's society, youth are really looking for answers. They have a void in their lives that can be filled only by Jesus. Youth need to know that God loves them, and that only through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ are they going to be able to experience the full extent of His love.

2. DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRY IS A PROCESS (I Corinthians 3:5-8)

Discipleship ministry is a ministry that serves all individuals at their level of interest and beliefs. Therefore, to minister to youth as a whole, we must offer different levels or "entry points" which challenge each individual youth at his or her level of "spiritual interest."

The "discipled student" has...

a) A working desire to develop a close friendship and love relationship with the Lord. (Matt. 22:37)

b) A sense of responsibility for the development of others. (Gal. 6:1-2)

c) A sense of responsibility for his or her own development. (Phil. 2:12)

d) A personal hunger to see his or her peers come to know Christ.

e) A commitment to pursue the life God desires for them (including ministry/vocation and marriage). (I Cor. 10:31)

3. CULTURAL RELEVANCE IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE (I Cor. 9:19-23)

Youth culture continually changes. Therefore, the topics and methods by which they are discussed must be relevant to the experiences that the youth are facing in their everyday lives.

4. THE YOUTH MINISTRY MUST REACH FOR EXCELLENCE (II Cor. 13:11)

We see excellence as doing the right things right. Everything that we do as a youth ministry must be done excellently or not done at all.

5. EVERYTHING IS DONE WITH A PURPOSE AND NOTHING IS DONE THAT DOES NOT TIE INTO OUR PURPOSE STATEMENT (Prov. 29:18)

We don't plan activities just for activities' sake. Everything that is done passes through the grid of our purpose statement. If it doesn't fit, we don't do it.

6. TEAM MINISTRY IS ESSENTIAL FOR SUCCESSFUL MINISTRY TO BE ACCOMPLISHED (Philippians 2:2)

Ministry must be built around the team concept. We do not believe in the lone ranger style of ministry. The team concept is essential if the youth ministry is to increase in effectiveness and size. Each team member has the potential to be the most influential person in a student's life.

7. EVANGELISM IS A PROCESS (I Corinthians 3:5-8)

The Holy Spirit is the only One who can change lives. We realize this and believe the process of bringing a young person to Christ involves time, personal testimonies, love in action, events planned throughout the year to optimize sharing the Gospel, and committed youth with the vision to share Christ.

8. PRAYER IS NECESSARY FOR EVERY ASPECT OF YOUTH MINISTRY (Philippians 4:6)

The youth ministry should be saturated in prayer by a group of people who commit themselves to regular and aggressive prayer for every dimension of the ministry.

STRATEGY

Our youth ministry program primarily targets the healthy middle school student who is not antagonistic toward the church, and who is somewhat given to "spiritual" things. Effectively reaching the targeted student involves much effort in providing a well-balanced, multi-level Discipleship Ministry.

1. ENTRY LEVEL--(Come and See)

The purpose of the outreach ministry is to reach the curious, the fun-seekers, the non-interested and the secular--to expose new people to Jesus Christ in a positive way and see them either accept Christ or go away closer to accepting Him.

2. GROWTH--(Come and Grow)

As convinced students accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they must be nurtured and fed in order to mature in Christ. During this stage, the adult Leadership Team spends time building relationships in order to create an environment of love, trust, and acceptance which will in turn facilitate an atmosphere conducive to producing growing disciples. The key principles of this stage are:

a) Developing an atmosphere of love

Love must be the basis for everything we do in ministry. Youth need to be loved and see God's love in practice. They need to be involved in environments where healthy unconditional love abounds.

b) Developing a good mental picture of the youth group in the minds of the youth who attend

Kids want to associate with a group they feel good about, and they need a group which can be a youth subculture group for them; a group where they could possibly attain their primary group.

c) Developing each youth's sense of significance

Kids need to know that they are a significant member of the group and not just a number. Thus, it is essential that relationships be established between the youth and the Leadership Team outside the church setting...on the kid's own turf.

d) Developing a proper understanding of Christ

During the Growth phase, youth need to understand the characteristics of the Biblical Jesus. This is the foundational truth of Christianity. Jesus being God is the major truth that separates true Christianity from other false religions. Thus, our verbal teaching as well as our actions must emphasize who Jesus is, what He has done for us, and who we are in Christ.

e) A prayer base

Establishing a group of individuals who commit themselves to regularly and aggressively praying for the individuals and events within the youth ministry.

f) Communication of God's Word

It is necessary that every aspect of our teaching be embedded in God's Word with the purpose of getting the youth to read the Word on their own and respond to its truth.

"One cannot make a plant grow, but one can provide an environment for growth."

THE FIVE GROWTH AREAS ARE: FELLOWSHIP, PRAYER, WORSHIP, BIBLE STUDY, AND SHARING.

3. MINISTRY--(Minister to others)

The purpose of the ministry level is to organize a team of committed young people who have excelled in the growth phase and deeply desire to be trained to use their lives and spiritual gifts to expose their friends to Christ.

4. MULTIPLICATION--(Shepherds)

Leadership Team--Throughout the "Discipleship Ministry" there will be those who have successfully gone through the growth and ministry phases and who are now ready for one of the Leadership Teams. The Leadership Teams are specific teams of adults who run and shepherd a particular ministry (i.e. Sunday School, R.A.D., etc.)

Leadership Core--As people from the Leadership Team prove themselves faithful and able workers, they are then ready to move into the Leadership Core of the youth ministry where they will shepherd a specific Leadership Team.

PROGRAM

In order to effectively accomplish the ministry's strategy, members of the Leadership Teams must have dedication to and a passion for middle school students. The student ministries of Grace Conservative Baptist Church fall into five categories which are designed to accomplish our strategy and ultimately produce discipled students. (This is a preliminary overview which will be presented in greater detail later in the project).

1. Entry Level

R.A.D.--(Radically Aware Discipleship). A middle school entry level program in which we will hold a weekly, Wednesday night activity. This will contain a time of fun and fellowship, followed by a short devotional.

2. Community Building/Discipleship

Sunday School--Sunday School is designed to teach Biblical truths in a creative, relevant way, as well as promote the importance of worship. The key ingredients of Sunday School include prayer, study of the Word, and sharing.

3. Small Groups

Family Units--These are 6 different small groups led by different adult volunteers on various nights of the week. They meet in the home of the adult volunteer and spend the time developing closer, more personal relationship with both the adult sponsor and the other youth in the Family Unit. Two of these will be just female, two just male, and two mixed.

4. Ministry

S.A.L.T.--"Student Action Leadership Team"

When some youth have matured in Christ and are ready to be challenged further than the Community Building/Discipleship and Small Group phases are capable of doing, SALT has been established. SALT will be a group of young people who are concerned about sharing in the work of the ministry and are desiring to be equipped for ministry to their peers. These students must be willing to build relationships with non-churched individuals in order to show them the authenticity of Christ through their own lives and open up avenues of communication that may not be available through casual contact.

SALT would meet twice a month to discuss skills in effectively and actively putting the Bible into practice. This is not another Bible Study, although the Bible is the major text. Strict requirements will be set for being a part of this team. The key though of SALT involves peer ministry designed to fulfill the Great Commission through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Ministry phase is essential if the Entry Level phase is going to have a higher element of success in sharing the love of God.

5. Multiplication

Adult Leadership Team--Some youth advancing out of the Ministry Team may be ready for the adult leadership teams after they graduate from high school. This position requires a great amount of commitment. Some spiritual gifts which may be helpful for ministry with youth may be mercy, shepherding, leadership, teaching, and encouragement. But, God can use everyone, regardless of their gifts, so no one will be looked over due to their spiritual gifts. Regular organization/training meetings would be required of each leadership team member.

The adult member of the leadership team need not be a great speaker or organizer. Instead, he or she should be a person who motivates others into a relationship and dedication to Christ by his or her own mature Christian example. Their Christian lives are models which encourage others to follow. Each leader must have a passion and a love for youth and realize that they lead by example.

Adult Leadership Core--As people from the Leadership Teams prove themselves faithful and able workers, they would then be ready to move into the Leadership Core of the youth ministry where they will shepherd a specific Leadership Team. The spiritual gift of administration would be quite helpful for members of the Leadership Core, but again, this gift is not essential to be considered.

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