The Youth Ministry at New Covenant Bible Church
“If it’s not broke . . . don’t fix it!” This is pretty good advice if you are talking about a car. At least that is what I tell my wife. “Holly, don’t worry about that weird noise our car is making; it seems to be running fine!” Actually, this is very bad advice if you are talking about a car. If you don’t make any effort to “fix” your car until your tires blow or your engine seizes, you will most likely be fixing something on the side of the road in bad weather. I speak from experience.
We often apply this same reactionary philosophy to our relationship with the next generation. “If they aren’t broke, leave them alone!” If teenagers aren’t being obnoxious and we don’t see any major outward problems, we coast. We see no big, external problems and lazily fall into the trap of thinking that “it’s not broke.” When there is a crisis we react. We react to the lying, swearing, substance abuse, or sex. We bombard them with spiritual conversations (on the side of the road in bad weather). As soon as the problem is patched up, we go back to life as normal.
The Bible calls us all to much more than a “ministry of reaction” or “crisis ministry” with the next generation in our church. Maybe the “if it’s not broke” philosophy can work as long as we realize that we are all “broke” and in need of constant “fixing.” Psalm 145:4 says, "One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” New Covenant should be a church that intentionally and proactively makes disciples of our youth.
Our Mission: The mission of New Covenant Bible Church is to bring glory to God through Spirit-transformed lives by the beauty and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whatever New Covenant does to serve families and teens must fulfill this purpose. One of the ways that we bring glory to God as a church is by helping parents and teens to be intentional about beholding God’s glory. We want to assist parents in raising teens who will be gripped by the gospel. We want to help families to delight in the glory of the gospel and to live by the sin-conquering, fruit-bearing power of the gospel.
The Means: The Bible speaks of two main groups of people that have a responsibility in the discipleship of the next generation: the family and the church. The primary means for youth discipleship in the Bible is the relationship of the family. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 gives parents the responsibility of diligently teaching their children. In Ephesians, the great letter on the church, Paul gives fathers the role of bringing children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). At New Covenant we hope to serve parents by equipping them to do the work of the ministry of raising families to know, love, and fear the Lord (Ephesians 4:11-12).
We see the church as a secondary—but no less necessary—means for youth discipleship. God has given leaders to the church to help equip the saints. Our youth ministry exists in part to help equip and build up the saints who are youth. The teens are part of the body of Christ and should learn to use their gifts to serve the body. We (including teens) are commanded to love one another, serve one another, rebuke one another, pray for one another, etc. If you are a part of New Covenant, you have a responsibility in the discipleship of the teens that are in our church. No one is exempt. We think that our youth ministry is one good place for the teens to grow in their love for serving the church and developing godly friendships. But we do not wish to create a feeling that the youth group is separate and distinct from the rest of the church. For this reason we desire to keep the teens participating with the rest of the church in many ways (worship services, prayer meetings, other areas of service).
Our Method: “Youth ministry” is by no means limited to our structured programs and events. Much ministry takes place in the hallway, at restaurants, in homes, and at school events. But we do structure in some specific meeting times as well. During Sunday school, we begin together for a brief time of teaching, but most of the time is spent divided into CareGroups of about 5-6 teens with an adult leader. This is an excellent time of mutual encouragement and discussion. On Wednesday evenings we meet together for fellowship, singing, preaching, and games. We are currently studying through the book of John. We also try to plan activities about every month or two. Some are designed to help us to know, love, and enjoy one another, and some are designed to serve others.
We recently enjoyed a weekend of winter camp at Riverwoods in St. Charles. Camps are always an enjoyable time of fun with the teens in a setting that is away from some of the normal daily distractions. Dave DeHaan taught three sessions on the “Mission of the Church.” Many of the teens shared testimonies about how God is teaching them to love the gospel more and have to have the boldness to share the gospel with others.
Our youth group is preparing for two missions trips this summer. June 16 - 25, we are taking a group of about 20 to Honduras to serve with the Allen family. Then July 16 - 20, we are planning a local mission trip serving with Luke Preussler and other needs here in our own community. We are praying that God would use these two trips to enlarge our view of God, and increase our burden for the lost souls in our community and around the world.
How can you serve the youth and their families at New Covenant?
1. Regularly pray for them.
2. Get to know and love them.
3. Encourage and edify them.
Praying together for the next generation,