I compiled a statement regarding my thoughts about youth ministry. This is not all encompassing, but I think it does highlight some of the essentials that I hope to bring to and cultivate in a youth ministry.
Personal Mission Statement:
I, Jeffrey Carr, am a shepherd-teacher-worshipper called of God to understand, and to help others understand the great truths of their union with Christ. ; proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, while creating relational disciples committed to diligent study of biblical truth.
As it relates to Youth Ministry:
I am called to cultivate a youth ministry that glorifies our Triune God by being culturally relevant, age appropriate, spiritually engaging, theologically robust, and crazy fun!
The church of 2015 is not the same church as 1975, and it will not be the same church in 2025. The Church must shift, adapt, and change relative to the culture of the day. While biblical truth is timeless, pastors must use cultural “markers” in order to best serve their congregates. The best biblical example of this is the Apostle Paul in Acts 17. Paul delivers this wonderful exposition (Acts 17:16-34) using the cultural “markers” of the day- something that the Athenians would have known and understood completely. For my youth group, I use things such as social media (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Kik, SnapChat), movies, tv, and music to teach the timeless truths of the gospel. Recently, I completed a series I call “God on Film”, where we explored glimpses of biblical truth through hollywood movie blockbusters (ex. The Avengers, Dark Knight, Man of Steel, E.T. The Extraterrestrial, etc.).
On the heels of cultural relevancy is age appropriateness. I want to make sure that I am speaking/teaching in a way that my age demographic can understand. I don’t expect a 12 year old to understand the words “substitutionary atonement”, however I would expect them to know and understand sacrificial death. I try my best to use age appropriate language, trying not be be crude, or unnecessarily vulgar, while still maintaining truth.
Of greatest importance is the spiritual fitness of our youth. I want them to understand the great truths of their union with Christ. In Him, he has given them every spiritual blessing they need. We are made right with God, in Him. The youth (and adults for that matter) need to know that the risen Christ indwells their newly regenerated heart of flesh by the Holy Spirit that they might in every way participate fully as one who belongs to the people of God. We have become adopted sons and daughters of God. In this adoption, we have been granted amazing blessings. Knowing who we are helps shape how we act (Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:10; 2 Cor. 13:5; Eph. 3:17, 2 Cor. 5:17; John 15:4, 5, 7; 1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Cor. 12:2; Gal. 3:28).
My goal is to give the youth real, solid theology. Ideas such as regeneration, sanctification, justification, glorification, and perseverance, should not be foreign ideas. But they should have a well rounded perception of each. I do hold a to Calvinistic theology, and I do teach within the reformed tradition.
Fun, Fun, Fun
I have found that while youth need structure, they also need times of fun and fellowship. As a result, I try to incorporate at least one activity or ice breaker during or before each lesson and at least one field trip/outing per month. I also encourage my youth to invite other family members and friends on these field trips as a means of evangelism and outreach. A young person might not come to Sunday school, but they might come to a skating or Skyzone field trip. Ultimately, its about showing the love of Christ to my youth, families, and friends while having as much fun as possible.