Effective Youth and Family Ministry is: Congregational

Statement: Effective youth and family ministry happens at a congregational level. All churchwide and synodical structures exist to strengthen the ministry of the congregational community.

Biblical Basis: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” - Acts 2:46-47

Rationale: “You wanna go where everybody knows your name!”...a familiar line from the theme song of a very popular sitcom, “Cheers”. Isn’t that what we are all about? Don’t we all want to go where someone knows our name? We are called and named by God at our baptism, and our fellow family members within the body of Christ accept us with open arms.

“We welcome you into the body of Christ and into the mission we share: join us in giving thanks and praise to God and bearing God’s creative and redeeming word to all the world.”1

It is through the life-giving relationships of our fellow family members that we grow and are shaped in our faith. It is community that reminds us of how much we need God, that encourages us, and that literally has faith for us when we are unable to speak for ourselves. Kathleen Norris writes in her book Amazing Grace, “When formal worship seems less than worshipful – and it often does...– I have only to look around at the other people in the pews to remind myself that we are engaged in something impor- tant, something that transcends our feeble attempts at worship, let alone my crankiness.”

It is in community that the first believers gathered in homes and broke bread and prayed, remained in solidarity with the poor, and grew in number and in faith.

Today we continue to meet to break bread. We do this in our congregations and we do this in our homes. In both settings, our young people and their families practice their faith.

It is in these local and daily (or at least weekly) relationships where we slowly shape our faith and under- standing of God at work in the world. Congregation is not a building that we go to, but a community in which we connect with one another and experience the most simple yet profound impact on how we daily live out our calling as baptized children of God.

It is the work of youth and family ministry to support young people and families as they practice their faith at home and in their community of worship. We walk along side them, and work to give tools to parents to assist their family in becoming a place where faith is lived out.

The work of synods and churchwide offices, then, is to support the efforts of congregations to create spaces and environments for people to experience the assurance of what we hope for...a place where someone knows our name and calls us to live fully immersed in the grace of God each day.

1 Evangelical Lutheran Worship; from the liturgy for baptism; p. 231.

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