Effective Youth and Family Ministry is: Advocacy

Statement: Youth and family ministry speaks on behalf of young people and families within the church, the community, and the world to encourage people to claim their role in the priesthood of all believers.

Biblical Basis: "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.'“  - Matthew 25:40

Rationale: There is a prophetic element to ministry. God calls Christians to stand with and to speak on behalf of those who are hungry, poor, or whose voice is not heard in the broader world. The prophetic element of youth and family ministry is to stand with and on behalf of young people who are often objectified by the world, and whose voices are often not heard within the church by those in authority.

This happens in two ways:

1. We help young people to discover their own voice. Each young person in every one of our congregations, and in the world, is gifted in ministry. Adults who work with youth draw alongside them and help them discover that they are completely capable of doing ministry, of caring for others, and of claiming and assuming their place as full partners in the priesthood of all believers. This happens through teaching, mentoring, and listening.

The young people who intersect with youth and family ministry are, in fact, practical theologians. They are living and trying to make sense of the world in which they live during a time of great personal, social, physical, emotional, and spiritual transition. As they develop, they learn what makes sense to them in terms of the role God plays in the world, and in their lives. Adults engage in the ministry of ‘placesharing’ with them, and experience the joys and difficulties of adolescence with them. As they do, they help name and develop young people’s gifts, they challenge and develop leadership, and they encourage young people to claim the place to which God has called them.

2. Adults stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. There are times when the structures of our culture, and sometimes our church, do not allow young people to speak on their own, or do not hear their voices. At these times, adults who minister alongside them must raise their own voices to speak on their behalf. We advocate for young people and for their ministry. Adults who work with and care about young people do this carefully, so as not to replace their voice, but to supplement it so that in the future, the voice of young people may be heard.

Our understanding of church is simply that it is the people of God. This definition is without condition. All are welcome to participate (see definition of Hospitable). Effective youth and family ministry then, ensures that the young are fully embraced and empowered within this community, that their gifts are recognized, celebrated, developed and are utilized in carrying out the mission of the church.

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