We must constantly strive to help men see that there is no greater mission than to be a part of God’s grand redemption of the cosmos, fighting Satan and his minions, being the first-fruits of the new creation, putting the values of the kingdom on display in our own lives, and invading every square inch of planet earth with the gospel of the kingdom of Christ!
From the origin of your calling to work with the next generation to the importance of assisting parents in raising their children, a covenantal understanding of scripture has multiple implications for youth ministry. Let me try to whet your appetite by highlighting just two of the many aspects of this special relationship between God and man that have direct bearing on how we do youth ministry.
I am being asked more and more what the term “missional church” means. Does it mean what we have generally thought regarding missionaries leaving and going to other parts of the world to evangelize and church plant? Often those questions have been asked in relation to discussion on the negative and narrowing impact of much of the modern church growth philosophy, especially as it relates to the church and the kingdom.
In the last Equip Tip, we emphasized the need of the church’s educational ministries to remember and return to the basics. Now, we address what those basics are. The goal of all our ministries is to make kingdom disciples. But what does that mean? A full-grown kingdom disciple would have two main characteristics. He would look, act, and think like Jesus and would be actively helping others become kingdom disciples.
The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is the second largest Presbyterian denomination in the USA and relatively young as far as denominations go, begun in 1973. Overall, Presbyterians are a small minority of Christians in America. We need to realize, however, that we are part of something bigger than we usually think.
It becomes more and more obvious that people are deficient in understanding the church and the kingdom; hence, they have not embraced nor understood them as clearly as God would have. As a result, from a human standpoint, the church is taking a licking. People, lacking a biblical view of both, are saying things that should not be said about either. There is apparent confusion about how the local church fits into the universal church and then how the universal church, including the local, relates to and is part of the kingdom.
We are to seek first the kingdom of God, expanding the rule of Christ into every sphere of our lives, culture, and world. If men’s ministry is to be effective, we must challenge men with a vision big enough to resonate with their internal drive to accomplish a great mission. That vision is to live out the values of God’s kingdom-to make the invisible kingdom of God visible, everywhere we go, in every sphere of our lives, over every square inch of planet earth.
The first question of youth ministry is one of theological foundation. I am convinced that the particular model of ministry that a church uses is secondary to the theological foundation on which the model is built.
The great football coach, Weeb Eubank, had a tradition at the beginning of every season. He would take all the new and seasoned players, sit them down, and then begin his lecture. He would take a football, stick it in their faces, and say to them, “Gentlemen, this is a football! Get to know it all over again.” He would go on to explain that unless they remembered the basics of the game of football, they could not win.
The same is true of the church. Unless we keep going back to the basics of who we are and what we believe, we will not continue to grow in the truth, for the truth starts with the basics.
Understanding the different generations is a part of understanding our world. You cannot read a book like Soul Searching (Christian Smith) or After the Baby Boomers (Wuthnow) and conclude that we can ignore what they are saying. Wuthnow explains what is happening as we experience in America an estimated six million less churchgoers today than in the past