Friday, November 04, 2005

God-Focused Youth Ministry

I recently (today) found an interesting article/post discussing the God-Focused Youth Ministry Conference. It was, indeed, an interesting read which confirmed many of my own beliefs and suspicions concerning youth ministry as well as the church in general. If you are interested, concerned, or just curious about the current state of youth ministries around the country I'd suggest reading this.

Frank Hamrick started out the conference Monday evening with an overview of God focused ministry. Not only did we learn what a God focused ministry is not, we also learned that “a God-focused ministry is one in which both the goal and the methods are designed to magnify the majesty of God to such a degree that youth develop a passion for God that governs every aspect of their lives.” It was in this session that he clearly articulated that often we talk about truth but not about “the Truth”; we talk about life but not about “The Life”; we talk about the kingdom but not “The King.” Our focus is so often on that which we gain through the relationship we have with God and not on God.
Secondly, It is the primary purpose of man to glorify God. God is glorified when man meditates on God by meditating on the works of God and the Word of God. As God is revealed to us in His written Word, we begin to know Him. That which we grow to know, we grow to love. We cannot glorify God without truly reflecting his character. For us to reflect His character, we must know and love Him. As we know and love God we are conformed into His image and it is in our holiness that we glorify Him.
Thirdly, youth ministry is not about entertainment. We have, driven by a desire to numerically grow, done all we can at times to appeal to the worldliness of teens so that we may keep them. We have done them a great injustice by neglecting the teaching of the doctrines of God. We often want to be “practical” instead of theological. It is vital that we do not make such a distinction between the two. Theology is practical, and practice must be derived from an accurate theology. As soon as we set aside theology for “practical preaching” we are in reality being behavioristic. It is not important that we teach our teens how to behave; good or moral behavior can be accomplished by anyone. What we must strive for is godly obedience which is the product of having meditated on God, knowing God, and loving God.

Report #1 from the God-Focused Youth Ministry Conference by Aaron Sturgill


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Tim said...

Good post! Let's just not forget that the Word of God is relevant to each of us and that it is okay to address how it impacts our daily life. But I agree with your post that it should be in balance with focusing on glorification.

Kristina said...

"Let's just not forget that the Word of God is relevant to each of us and that it is okay to address how it impacts our daily life."

Yes, I agree. I am different from you, you are different from Sue, Bob, and Joe, ect so each of us are going to have something different revealed through the Word to us. This is another reason fellowship with other believers is so very important. There are things that get revealed to me by other people that just blow open my eyes and I'm able to see God in another way and begin to understand Him more deeply.