Effective Youth and Family Minstry is: Excellence

Statement: Young people deserve nothing but the best from the church. Freed by grace, we strive for excellence as our standard.

Biblical Basis: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. “

- Phillipians 4:8

Rationale: Excellence should be central to what we do. As with all God’s children, our young people should receive the very best of the faithfulness of the church (Body of Christ) to its Lord Jesus. The church in all of its expressions, has a tremendous opportunity to share the love of God with young people. And God calls us to do this in ways that express the God-story in dynamic, expressive and vital ways.

Too often the church has been willing to settle for something less than excellent. Our ministry with young people is sometimes underfunded, understaffed and underresourced. To be completely honest, we have sometimes set lower expectations for ourselves than our young people deserve.

God’s Word from Deuteronomy is a call to the church. The call is to love God, do ministry with young people with all our heart, soul, and strength. God’s call here is as unconditional as it is simple: God’s call is to excellence.

The word “excellence” carries much baggage with it. Certainly the standards the rest of the world may apply to excellence do not apply to the practice of the church. But we feel it is important that the youth and family community reclaim this word as its own. This word speaks not to our theology, much of which is about our brokenness, the theology of the cross, and the work of God. Rather it is about our practice; it is about how we approach our ministry with young people. Another word that might be used is faithfulness. Yet it is possible for us to be faithful and still do a poor job in ministry. The excellence we speak of is both faithful and fulfills high standards. We claim the word excellence as our own:

God’s call to the church is to recognize youth ministry as a vocation and in many instances, a profession, and to  

        set high expectations and standards accordingly.

God’s call to adult leaders working in this ministry is to recognize that youth ministry is a calling to be in relationship 

        with young people and their families. These adults must make themselves available, approachable and ultimately 

        accountable to the churches they serve. They must meet expectations and standards.

To think of youth ministry through a lens of excellence is to break the old stereotypes of youth ministry. As called professionals, certification and standards should be nonnegotiable. Those who take their role seriously seek an understanding of the Lutheran church and its doctrines. As called professionals and volunteers we should seek continuing education, taking advantage of workshops, clinics, and the knowledge of those who have wisdom and experience. As congregations calling youth ministers we must set our stan- dards high. Our young people deserve the faithfulness of the church and its adult leaders.

God gives us an opportunity to live out the call to excellence. The opportunity the church has is to find ways to respond to that call and to be God’s love and grace incarnate in the lives of young people.

Faith Lutheran Church - 155 Boyson Road, Marion, IA 52302 - 319.377.9700