Forget the flashing lights and loud music, ministry to children and youth is about valuing people and relationships. Rev Josie Neuendorff explains.
When I speak to people in congregations about children and youth ministry, I am almost always asked about what programs and activities will attract young people and keep them interested.
The answer is, simply, there are none.
Compared to the rest of society we will never win by trying to entertain young people. But we have something else: hope, love, joy and peace. There is something within the spiritual and faithful aspects of how we seek to live as a community that is very attractive and fulfilling for young people (just as it attracts people of all ages).
There are a few key tips to help congregations continue to grow and engage in ministry with young people. Firstly, for youth and children’s ministry to thrive within a church it must be seen and held as a priority across the congregation. As Roberto, Black and Martinson write in The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry, “It is the culture of the whole church that is vital in nurturing youth of vital faith.”
Secondly I would add that church offers a unique family atmosphere where young people can build healthy and life-giving relationships with those from other generations. This beautiful opportunity for intergenerational relationships can be life-changing for all involved. Developing healthy cross-generational relationships makes young people feel more connected and a true member of the church family.
It’s not about running the greatest games, or having cool lingo, it’s about valuing people and relationships. God does the rest.
Easter Madness is an upcoming event in the life of the Queensland Synod that seeks to put the above into practice.
We’ve hosted these “Madness” programs for young people before, but this time we are opening it up for more age groups and inviting young people from across Queensland to journey together through the life-changing story of Easter.
Even if you are not in this age group or able to be an Easter Madness leader you can still be involved by:
- praying for the leaders and participants
- promoting Easter Madness in your community
- sending your minister to go with the young people
- inviting young people you know to attend
- sponsoring a rural young person.
Online donations to the Easter Madness Appeal can be made at missionpossible.ucaqld.com.au