5 Core Principles of a Healthy Children and Youth Ministry - Awana International Canada

Reach Kids, Equip Leaders, Change the World Blog

I was a youth pastor for 15 years and what I am about to tell you I have observed as a common problem. I have heard so many children and youth ministry leaders questioning whether or not their traditionally important ministries still work. "Are we effectively reaching kids with the gospel and creating life-long disciples? If a church experiences fair weather attendance and an overall decrease in participation as kids graduate from high school, should they question the fruit of their efforts? A healthy, vibrant ministry should produce engaged young adults who are knowledgeable about the Word of God and eager to disciple the next generation. So now what? 

As difficult and discouraging as it is  to ask thee questions, I believe this is a "spotlight season" on children and youth ministry and it is a good thing for the Church. We actually need this painful reality check that recent statistics have forced us to face. New ministries will be birthed out of imaging new models and we want to explore these new models with you. 

If we are willing to put in the work and challenge some of our traditional models, we don't need to look far to know the direction we must go. Youth themselves are able to tell us. (Hemorraging Faith pgs 67-68):
  • I want to be given tools to apply the teaching to my life immediately
  • I want to be reminded and shown how to live the gospel week to week
  • I want to learn how to apply sermons to my life by listening to how it applies to others
  • Church should make Jesus the centre of all sermons
  • Church should challenge us with Scripture 
 I strongly believe there are five core principles necessary for an effective children and youth ministry.
  1. It must be gospel-centred 
  2. It must be built on strong leadership  
  3. Scripture must be presented as key 
  4. It must be fun and exciting 
  5. It must involve partnership with parents 

In the coming months we will talk about each one of these principles. We will provide tips for incorporating each into your ministry and challenge you to evaluate your activities against these principles. We want you to imagine a ministry with children and families who are engaged, leaders who are excited and organized and age group transitions that result in the development of new leaders. As we explore these ideas over the course of this year, we hope that you are open to consideration and conversation around these ideas. 

Jon ImBeau
Jon has a heart for children and youth ministry and for the church in Canada.  Originally from Ontario, Jon moved to British Columbia and married his wife Debbie.  They have been married for 19 years.  They have four children ages 14, 12, 9, and 3. 

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