(1/2) The Dynamics Of An Effective YTH Service
I am often asked this question in some form or another. What is the best model for a dynamic YTH Service?
Before I give you my favorite model for a healthy YTH Service, let me say that I know there are many healthy settings using a variety of models. There are many ways to do a great YTH Service: including, preaching (declaration), teaching (discussion), discipleship (small groups), evangelism (outreach), event-based (neutral site settings or venues), and fine arts (worship, music, arts) driven approaches.
Whatever the methods of the YTH Leader, they must stay consistently and intentionally true to their competencies (skill-sets) and core values (philosophy). That is the best way to build culture in the YTH Ministry setting.
Remember, the YTH Service is the one place we have the whole attention of the leaders and students. The one corporate setting where we can communicate to everyone at the same time. The momentum that can be gained in a YTH Ministry from this setting is unimaginable. But, it is not simply the quickest way to create culture and identity.
It creates a move of God and the Spirit that draws students to a dynamic setting. There are many suddenlies in the bible where everything turned in a moment. That is the same kind of influence that can be seen in a dynamic YTH Service.
With that in mind, let me talk about my favorite YTH Service essentials:
Theology is ‘the study of God.’ And the central responsibility of a YTH Pastor is to build a relationship with students to teach them the nature and character of God. That’s it. Every endeavor in YTH Ministry must lead to that responsibility. Theology is the difference between a YTH Ministry and a YTH group. And the YTH Service setting is the first place this should be seen as priority.
As we have seen, there are a variety of models for an effective YTH Service. But, given the spiritual condition of the Millennial and GenZ set, a theology emphasis is the first needed elementary principle in YTH Ministry and specifically the YTH Service. Because of the nature of this generation, and their lack of theological understanding and accurate picture of God, theology in the YTH setting becomes even more important.
Preaching and teaching are the cause of both spiritual formation and spiritual malnutrition. It all depends on the emphasis or the lack of an emphasis of the YTH Leader and their commitment to the Word. If theology is neglected, a YTH Ministry will be shallow and retention will be difficult because we are not making disciples. On the other hand, if theology is emphasized, a YTH Ministry will be healthy and growth will be eminent because we are making disciples.
What you get teens with you have to keep teens with. There are no gimmicks or shortcuts that produce godly teens. When spiritual formation is central in a YTH Ministry, this culture creates consistency and commitment in teens who will be active participants in the YTH Service setting. And not sit with their arms folded staring off into space.
Preaching and teaching in the YTH Service setting should include a thorough run of topics, themes, and series about God that include The Ten Commandments, Inerrancy of the Word, Salvation, The Beatitudes, Grace, Holiness, and Eternity and Heaven. These are all important topics to a holistic YTH spiritual formation in teens.
We have to see theology as attractional. Theology is not afraid of creativity, sociology, and culture. This relationship is vital to doing effective contextual YTH Ministry.
Here are a few practical things you can do to increase Theology in the YTH Service.
-Raise the temperature in the room with issues that are normally not dealt with (sexuality, family, relationships, etc.)
-Use kinesthetic and linguistic communication
-Every message should include the 4 T’s (Topic, Text, Tale, Takeaway)
-Essential tools for study: Two Commentary sets, an Expository Dictionary of New Testament words, Manners and Customs of the Bible, Hebrew and Greek Lexicon, Abingdon’s Exhaustive Concordance, and internet capability for research
Next week, we will dissect Theatre and its creative role and impact on the YTH Service and ultimately the YTH Ministry. Of course, there is an obvious responsibility to do good sociology and contextualization with theology. That is the role of creativity and what we will deal with next week.