Christian youth ministry serves a crucial role in moving Christian churches forward. Youth ministry leaders challenge young people to find and to keep Christ at the centre of their daily lives. As Christian youth mature, they become the leaders in their churches and serve as role models to their children. Spiritual discipline usually does not come naturally, but grows over time as young people face challenges that highlight the scope of their faith. Youth ministers expose Christian values through any number of activities designed to guide Christian young people toward fulfilling lives of service.
Bible Study Activities
Engaging young Christians in Bible-based activities strengthens their knowledge of the Bible, while imparting the deeper mystical strength available from the Bible's wisdom. Present a mini-play of the parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) using Henri Nouwen's book, "The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming." Assign young people to play the lost son, the jealous brother and the father. Hang a poster of Rembrandt's painting, The Return of the Prodigal Son to portray the rich essence of love and humility in the son's return. Young people can explore the way the parable challenges them to become the forgiving and loving father.
Community Service Activities
Youth ministers introduce young Christians to serving their communities while using and developing their God-given strengths and talents. As youth bring learning opportunities to disadvantaged children, as they serve in church soup kitchens and homeless shelters, and perform other community activities, their confidence grows. Youth ministers provide discussion opportunities for young people to describe and reflect on their experiences. Ministers can relate every service activity to the Gospels by assigning readings in the Beatitudes, for example, in which Jesus teaches that God exalts the lowest.
Giving Christian youth opportunities to discuss and debate issues involving morality and Christian choices helps them to structure their thinking and to find appropriate ways to communicate their thoughts. Conduct a debate in front of an audience of church members. Young people argue for and against biblical principles, such as the real-life benefits of following the two great commandments -- love God and love your neighbour as yourself. Youth ministers provide a safe and structured environment as they give topics, such as Christian dating and peer pressure, for young people to consider.
Games engage young people and can offer new ways to look at the depth and breadth of Scripture and Christian teachings . The website, Christian Youth Groups, suggests the Three Pens Game to introduce how faith differs from one person to another. The youth leader arranges three pens on a table. The minister places her hands alongside the pens showing, for example, two fingers on one hand and three fingers on the other hand, totalling the number eight. Group members try to figure out the number displayed on the table. The group is challenged to think about what is not immediately obvious. The minister relates the game and its object to reading different biblical authors and books to get a fuller idea about spiritual matters like how God shows love to people by establishing laws to protect them and by forgiving people when they fail to abide by divine laws.
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