Philosophy of Youth Ministry
We believe that the goal of a ministry to youth is a specific application of the purpose of the church. Three Rivers Baptist Church exists to glorify God and advance His kingdom by worshiping God, by praying, loving, and equipping one another, and by taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. This statement embodies the three aspects of inreach, upreach and outreach. Any ministry that we have to youth must therefore have the same purpose and commitments. In keeping with this, we believe that our ministry to youth must be characterized by strong Bible teaching (II Timothy 3:16-17). Furthermore, at the heart of our philosophy of ministry there must be a passion for the lost and a desire to see God’s mercy magnified among the nations (Psalm 67:1-2; I Peter 2:9-10). An emphasis on both local and international evangelism is paramount.
- The primary emphasis is not on programs, trips, retreats, camps, fun outings, games etc.(although they may have their place in the Youth Ministry); rather the emphasis is on a ministry focused primarily on equipping our young people with the goal that they be presented complete in Christ (Colossians 1:28).
- We believe that the essence of youth ministry is a strong family which begins with the immediate family and encompasses the entire community of believers. Our conviction is that parents are the primary Christian educators in the home (Deuteronomy 6:6-7), and that the family is the God-ordained institution for building faith in our youth and for passing faith on from one generation to the next. It is our observation that for too long (in American churches in general) this vision has been lost in a program-centered church culture in which parents find themselves in a very passive role rather than being integrally involved in shaping their children’s faith and lives. We therefore firmly believe that a major focus of TRB’s ministry must be the teaching, training, and equipping of parents which will not only promote maturity in them, but will facilitate their greater involvement in ministry to their children while both at home and at church. In keeping with this we believe that the youth ministry should support rather than supplant parental leadership, authority and discipleship (Deuteronomy 6:7; Psalm 78:1-8). One-on-one discipleship is important to the youth ministry, but it should not take the place of parents discipling their youth when and where possible.
- It is our conviction that our youth who are members of Three Rivers Baptist Church be involved in the various ministries of the church, and that they not be extracted from the main church body to create a counter culture of their own within the church. We therefore reject the notion that the young people of today are tomorrow’s church. We believe they are today’s church, and can and should be integrally involved in all aspects of ministry.