Many youth pastors across the nation are asking this question: What is youth ministry? or Why Youth Ministry?
Seriously, what is the primary function of youth ministry?
Without a definition of what a youth ministry is or does, I am not exactly sure how a youth pastor can gauge the impact of their youth ministry.
Thus, I will establish a definition of youth ministry:
Youth ministry is a community of reawaken followers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord. Youth ministries gather regularly for preaching/teaching and worship, observe the biblical sacraments of baptism and communion, are unified by the Spirit, are disciplined for holiness, and are empowered to be missionaries to their town and to the world for God’s glory and redemption.
Thankfully, the mission of youth ministry is not that complicated. The mission of youth ministry comes directly from the command of Jesus: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20; see also Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-49; John 20:20-31; Acts 1:5-8). Jesus speaks of going, evangelizing, making disciples, and maturing youth ministries and the Church. Therefore, the mission of youth ministry is nothing less than bringing the entire world to Christian faith and maturity.
I guess one could call this being a “Missional Youth Ministry.”
It is essential a missionally minded youth pastor know how to carry out the mission to today’s progressively non-Christian youth culture. This is why youth pastors need to be culturally smart and theologically solid. They need to know, understand, and assess culture in order to implement their strategies on how to reach unChristian students.
One of the easiest way to measure if a youth ministry actually has a mission, is to locate where the youth ministry budget $ is being spent. Is the $ being spent on your youth room or being spent on training local missionaries? If a large amount of your youth ministry budget is inwardly focused, you may need to rethink why your youth ministry exist. Does it exist to get more students attending your church youth programs or to get more students sent out?
It is all about youth ministry impact, outside the church walls.
This is why I think youth ministry is soo fun!!! Why? We are given the Great Commandment and the youth pastor is required to contextualize it according to its culture, church, and theology. The goal is to get our teens be missionaries in their town and in the world.