Once again I had the opportunity to write an article for my church’s bulletin. Maybe this will become a permanent thing… who knows. Anyway, I picked up where I left off in my last church article. Enjoy!
It Takes a Village
Greetings! And, as our brother Paul says, grace and peace to you. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to address you through an article here in the Glendale Family Footnotes. In that article, I informed you about the goals I have set for our Youth Ministry here at Glendale Church of Christ. As a quick review, allow me to once again share with you these goals. They are as follows:
The primary goal of the Glendale Youth Ministry is to bring teens to Christ, while strengthening those with existing relationships with Him.
The secondary goal is to build and strengthen relationships between the teens, their families, and the congregation, as a whole, while equipping them to serve Christ through lives of purpose, service, and leadership.
As I have stated before, these goals are quite lofty; and, as with any ministry, a set of goals only accomplishes so much. Goals will not bring teens to Christ, or strengthen their relationships with Him, nor will they alone build and strengthen relationships between all of us here in the church. For these goals to mean anything there must be a plan to implement them and additionally there must be people who support this plan and adopt it as their own.
Hopefully, I have not already lost your attention. Often times, if we think something does not pertain to us, we quickly shift our focus elsewhere. Let me assure you that these goals and what I am about to say have everything to do with YOU.
You may have heard it said, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but I tell you that it takes a congregation to raise a child of God.
Through the small groups seminar, we learned that for visitors to stay at a congregation they have to make several meaningful contacts within their first visit. It is much the same for our teens. For them to stay with God, as they grow, mature, and one day leave to live their own lives, they need to have those same meaningful relationships. Moreover, teens need to have meaningful relationships with others in the congregation outside of their own age group for them to stay with Christ and the church when it is their own decision to make.
So often we compartmentalize our churches so that these relationships are difficult for our teens to obtain. The teens have their own minister, classes, and activities, as do the young adults, senior saints, and every other age group within the church. I am not advocating that we do away with Youth Ministers and the like, but I think that there needs to be a shift in focus within these ministries.
We need to focus on bridging the gaps and do our best to meet together somewhere in the middle. A Youth Ministry cannot alone build these meaningful relationships and I am pleased to see the efforts being made currently towards making our congregation a more unified body. It will take a lot of work and that is why we need your help and support. It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a congregation to raise a child of God.