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Philosophy of Youth Ministry God must change people (Phil 2:13; Isaiah 55:11; Acts 13:48). I believe that the primary way God changes people is through His Word, especially as His people pray, and that by His grace. I have a high view of the importance of the local Body as being where God loves to work. Yes, God can change people through a variety of means, and he once used a talking donkey, but I still come back to the basics: Only Scripture, Only Grace, Only Faith, Only Christ, and All for the Glory of God Alone. The Local Church is vitally important. Youth ministry must seek to get students involved in the life of the local church. God’s love for His Church and its importance is clearly displayed in the book of Ephesians (Favorite passages on this are Ephesians 2:19-22; 3:20-21; 4:11-16). The youth group cannot simply exist by itself, alone, separated from the Body. Purpose driven ministry is important (Psalm 33:11 -God has His own plans and strategy we should too; Acts 13:5,14,14:1; Romans 1:16 - - strategy to go to Jewish synagogues; he had priorities and planned - methods; Acts 16 Paul planned to head over to another part of Asia but - - the Holy Spirit said he couldn’t and directed him into Greece;). What we do must relate back to our purpose. “Good” ideas and programs must fit into the purpose or they won’t be used. I believe relationships are a huge part of any ministry. (Jesus spent three years with twelve men, and focused extra attention on three of them. Jesus had good friends that he knew well Lazarus, Martha, Mary). Ministry of - every kind must be relational. Each student must continually be shown Christ’s love. These relationships are a foundation and an inroad for all aspects of ministry. In Youth ministry we deal with every area of students’ lives spiritual, - physical, social, emotional, intellectual (Luke 2:52; 1 Pet 2:17). Balance in all these areas of life is important (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; 1 Tim 4:8; Gal 5:22 - 23; Revelation 2-3) it’s important to balance ministry. Evangelism cannot - be done to the exclusion of discipleship or vice versa. Social and relational ministry cannot replace God’s Word. The whole counsel of God must be taught. Each ministry is different and while the doctrine, philosophy, and values remain unchanged, how and what programs work changes. Balance changes as people, programs, and life change. Every student will grow up and make decisions. I cannot simply tell them what to think. Not only must I teach them truth from God’s Word with passion (Romans 10:1-2), but I must train them to be able to live without my help (1 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Tim 4:1-2). The old adage remains true “Give a - man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” I am ever so passionate about training students to seriously and rightly divide God’s Word (2 Tim 2:15; 3:16). I want them to think critically about life, this world system, and be able to have a coherent world view. “Canned” moral lessons do not accomplish this. Students cannot simply be fed. They must exercise their faith through avenues in the local church, missions, and every day life (Phil 2 12-17; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor 2:14-1 5; James 1:22-25). It’s very important that the students have opportunities to serve the Church Body. I believe parents should be the key to youth ministry (Eph 6:1-4). Sadly, they often are a hindrance. One of my largest challenges must be to help parents in any way possible. This means that building relationships with them is important so that I can better understand my role in their lives. Helping them includes having good relationships with parents and students, teaching and discipling students, communicating effectively with parents and students, being trustworthy, and helping both groups better understand one another and their roles (especially in light of Scripture - Eph 6; Colossians 3:20-21; Exodus 21:17; 1 Timothy 5:1-2). I must be able to communicate well with Church leadership, youth leaders and boards, parents, students, and the whole Body. I must also be approachable and listen well. Many problems can easily be solved through proper communication (James 1:19). As we build relationships with students, we want their lives to be changed - through the ministry of the Word, discipleship, evangelism, the training of leaders, and worship (by grace and with much prayer). My job is to be loving, faithful, passionate, increasing in wisdom, balanced, and growing in every way.
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