At the heart of creating and supporting a strong youth presence is what is called the The Three Phase Approach to Youth Ministry. This approach has been proven very effective over many years and provides the framework for any context for a vital ministry with teens. It should be said at the start that this development and training come from a strong belief in youth led ministry and the gifts that our young people bring. We also believe that the presence of youth transforms a congregation and is essential to congregational health and vitality.
Phase One: Creating the Vision
The first step is to create a vision. Youth ministry must emerge from the situation and context of your congregation. There is no perfect youth program that works for everyone or one person who can single handedly attract youth. Thriving ministry with and by young people comes from God’s vision for you in the place where you are. We guide leaders through a visioning process and provide a booklet written by John Palarine titled, “Creating the Vision for Youth Ministry” which results in an exciting vision and plan for the particular congregation and the community.
The five basics of creating the vision are:
- A vision must be God’s vision
- Vision requires breaking free from the old
- A vision must be clear, specific and unique
- A vision must be owned, changed and dynamic
- A vision requires commitment, follow-through and hard work
Our team is prepared to facilitate a proven and effective process with you to develop a vision for youth presence in your context that is unique to you and can move your ministry with youth from good to great to even better.
Phase Two: Raising up adult teams
A core value of this approach is that youth ministry requires a team of adults not a single person or pair of people. Our staff shows how to recruit many adults. Most churches think it is difficult if not impossible to find more than one or two to work with youth people. Some churches hire someone thinking that is the solution. It is our experience that it takes many gifts and many people and that several adults can be raised up if we know how to do it and are committed to it.
Once the adult teams are identified they must be trained. Our staff custom makes the training for each congregation based on the training prospectus contained in these materials. We believe training is essential for any person working with young people. We provide the Being Barnabas training program for these adult teams.
Finally, it is important to provide ongoing support for these adults. We offer proven methods to assure their feeling of support and to help with continued commitment to this ministry.
Phase Three: Youth Led Ministry
Our strongest core value is to raise up young people as leaders and that it is not only their presence but their leadership that transforms congregations. We also believe that the vision and adult teams must be in place first in order to build a foundation of support. We resist a hierarchal approach of adults who make all the decisions and who tell young people what they should do, feel and believe. We affirm the extraordinary gifts of teenagers and believe that their ability to use those gifts to make a difference in our congregations and the world. We also are convicted that leadership training of young people is as essential as it is for adults. After Damascus is a training program that we have developed to provide many leadership skills. It is in phase three where the ownership of young people solidifies and the growth explodes. The leadership skills that they acquire in this training program are ones that they can use in their schools, community and will make a difference in their lives in the future.