The Essential Role of Youth Ministry in Our Churches

We heard the word “essential” a lot this past year. The word was used in regards for necessary items and personnel; but if we’re honest, the definition fell pretty broadly as to who was categorized in this way. However, we still needed the essentials for day-to-day life.

Even in our congregations, we had to get down to the “essentials” for ministry to move forward. As things progressed, innovation took place. These changes were not easy for any of us.

The role of the Church is to respond to change while holding firmly to the essentials so that a new generation’s needs might be met. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” writes the author of Hebrews. He is the essential, but the mode of communicating His essential message requires innovation.

Here’s what I’m getting at: if we want the next generation to understand the essential message, we have to make them essential to the message. Our congregations need good youth ministries where students are treated as essential to our strategy of making disciples in all nations. Students need to feel that their congregation wants, likes, and needs them there.

I’ve had the joy and privilege of working with students for over 12 years now. In this time, I’ve heard their stories, shared in their pain, and pointed them towards hope. What’s funny is with youth, there’s always an opportunity to dwell on the essentials of our faith. But with these students, I’ve also seen Jesus become essential to their lives.

When students see that the church wants to leverage this time in their life for the important things, they grab on. They show up, they work hard, and they develop a faith that will last. Students are worth celebrating and when they are, it innovates more than you can imagine!

So, where can you start? Make young people essential in your own life. Read and learn about them. Pray for them. Talk with them. Invite them into your life. Show them how Jesus is for them. When you make our youth essential to your life, you’ll find Jesus innovating everything.

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