1. This ministry should be COVENANTAL in that it will be primarily aimed at the covenant children of this congregation. Our first priority is not to evangelize students outside of FPC, but to minister to the children of this congregation. Our goal with our own children is (as Durham put it so many years ago) “to bring them within the covenant who are without, and to make those who are within the covenant to walk suitably to it.” In other words, we want to see the children of our church truly embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and we want to see them truly growing in grace.
2. This ministry should be RELATIONAL in that (though teaching and large group meetings will play a vital role) personal contact, in one to one meetings and small groups, and cultivation of friendships between staff, volunteers, and students will be key to effective discipleship. Hence, all youth staff place a premium on and evidence gifts for relational work.
3. This ministry should be PARENTAL in that our goal is not to replace parental discipleship, nor usurp it, but to assist, encourage, support, supplement and complement healthy family Christian nurture. The best “youth minister” in the world is two godly parents fostering faith of their children in the home, church and school. We aim to help that, not replace it. We know, of course, that there are many parents longing for aid with their children and we want to be a real, substantive, responsive support for them.
4. This ministry should be DISCIPLESHIP-ORIENTED in that our goal is to see our young people become mature Christians rooted and grounded in grace, not merely to facilitate large numbers of participants at youth activities, or to sponsor high-profile events. Our approach is people-based, rather than program-based, and our desire is not just to see a student pray a prayer, or experience a “spiritual high” at a camp but rather to cultivate a faith and a life that will last.
5. This ministry should be ORDINARY MEANS OF GRACE-BASED in that we want to cultivate in our students an appreciation for the ministry of the word, the right participation in the sacraments, and the life of prayer as the normal way God brings about growth in the Christian life. That is, we want to encourage students to see the priority of worship, and indeed corporate worship, for Christian living. The ministry wants to see our youth participating fully in the worship, service, fellowship and witness of the church