Growing in the Church-Home Partnership - Shaping Ministry to Youth, Young Adults, and Their Families
As I’ve mentioned in the previous posts, we hope to build the youth and young adult ministry of Christ Redeemer Church on top of several vision pillars. The fourth one (in no particular order, by the way) has to do with the role of a young person’s family and church related to their discipleship:
...Growing in the Church-Home Partnership: We want to support, encourage, and promote God’s design for parents and the home as his most influential tool for ministry to young people.
The church is “the household of God” and “a pillar and buttress of the truth” (1Tim.3:15).
God “gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,” (Eph.4:11-12).
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Dt.6:6-7).
“We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done (Ps.78:4).
Ministry to youth and young adults is a privilege and responsibility for parents, pastors, and for the church body. The church is a “pillar...of the truth” and it has an obligation to equip its people in that truth. Christian young people are included in the number of "its people." And God gave gifts to the church to help. We’re convicted that under a church’s broad responsibility to disciple its people, parents clearly carry the primary responsibility to disciple their own children. Parents don’t bear that responsibility alone, but they do bear it primarily. Not only that, but parents also appear to be the greatest influencers in their children’s lives.
While some might assume that things like media, or peers, or others carry greater influence, that doesn’t seem to be true in general. A USA Today Weekend Magazine poll suggested that 70% of teens say their parents are the most important influence in their lives. An MTV and AP study asked teens “What makes you happy?” The top answer to that question was “Spending time with family.”
So, we want our ministry efforts geared toward youth and young adults be be marked by significant parental involvement.
However, as the household of God, Christians are all brothers and sisters and uncles and aunts at one level. The church, as a family, has a responsibility to help parents in their discipling efforts - to reinforce their discipling and to hold parents accountable to their responsibilities.
So, we want adults, whether parents of youth or young adults or not, to be interested in, concerned for, and involved in this ministry.
And pastors, of course, have the privilege to shepherd the overall teaching and care for the entire church family - which will include youth and young adults and younger children. So, we hope the pastors of Christ Redeemer Church will offer biblical clarity on family discipleship issues and be a means of grace to help parents and the church to effectively care for the young people that are part of the body.
In the end, ministry to youth and young adults is not any one person’s job alone. We’re all in this together - parents and the broader church body. While we plan to have a formal ministry program geared toward youth and young adults and their families, it will be considered a ministry tool in parents’ hands, rather than something to replace them as parents. Again, the church body will need to help parents to leverage and use the program rightly. We hope for a true partnership between the home and the church.