You often hear it said that youth are the church of tomorrow. But how can they be the church of tomorrow if they are not engaged in the church today? A church is a community composed of people of all ages, from diverse backgrounds and often, from different faith origins. Just as youth are integral, valued members of a family, they should be integral, valued members of a faith community. Young people will not view themselves as valued, and therefore will not deeply engage in the life of a church if they are relegated to the “youth room” in the basement. And integrating youth more faithfully into the full life of the church doesn’t just benefit the youth, it benefits everyone. Adults become mentors and role models, elders are valued for their experience and wisdom, and younger children aspire to assume the roles that teens hold in the church.
In this course, we will talk about the importance of integrating youth ministry into the wider congregation and ways in which to make this shift. This is designed such that each section may be completed in one gathering. If every section were to be completed, with the group meeting weekly, this course would take five weeks to complete. It is also possible to complete the course in a shorter period of time by combining sections based on your team’s availability. Similarly, it could be expanded, and the focal Scripture passages—merely used here as a discussion starter, and a backdrop for the youth ministry topics— could be used as a jumping off point for a whole Bible study for each gathering. We are hopeful that the person leading this effort will feel free to adapt what is provided to their particular community’s needs.