This assignment will examine whether focused ministry specifically with young people has a place within the church and whether mission should focus on different age groups, or be all inclusive. It will look at the biblical issues surrounding mission and consider what the scriptures say about the different approaches to ministry. Developmental issues will also be explored by looking at the ways in which both types of ministries help young people in their development or hinder it. It will then look at the sociological implications and explore the different ways that young people learn and interact. Finally it will delve into focused ministry with parents and look at various issues of passing on the faith.
The conclusions drawn from the assignment are that focused ministry and mission play an important part, but it is equally important to work with all ages together. By working with young people as a group, workers are able to focus on needs which may be specific to that age group. However there may be issues which can be more adequately addressed by all ages sharing experience and knowledge on a wider scale. The assignment clearly shows that both methods of ministry and mission have their place within the church and young people develop best when they are exposed to both.
Historically the church has been a place where members of the community from all age groups come together for worship and biblical teachings. It was not until late nineteenth century that congregations were broken up into smaller groups and children and young people were taught separately from the older members. Andrew Root noted that, Children have always played meaningful roles in societies and the church has always worked to pass on its faith to its young people. But age specific ministry to young people -youth ministry- is no older than the late nineteenth century.
This would suggest that focused ministry with young people is not new, however ministry and missions with young people is still developing and finding its place within the church.
Focused ministry with young people can be in the form of youth groups, para-churches and different programs and events which are geared towards helping young people in their spiritual growth. Focused ministry allows youth workers to structure programs which are designed to meet specific needs of young people and deal with issues which pertain to their age group. Sara Savage describes youth ministry as ‘Explicitly faith-based activity. It works from the assumption of a shared knowledge base about the Christian faith and sees its role as being to disciple, guide and even socialize young people into the faith.’ Savage explains that youth ministry is all about programming activities which will appeal to young people and develop them in the faith. Whether this type of ministry is the most effective way of conveying the gospel and ministering to young people is what this assignment seeks to find out.
Mission is often perceived as missionaries taking the gospel to other countries and sharing the word of God with people who may not have been exposed to Christianity. This however is only one aspect of mission as it is, ‘Engagement outside of the church, when we engage with people outside of the Christian faith.’ This engagement can take place at anytime in the form of evangelistic ventures and programs designed to share our faith with non-Christians, or during the encounters we have with people on a daily basis. It is the purpose of the church to carry out Gods mission by bringing the gospel to all people irrespective of their age and background because, ‘The Christian faith is intrinsically missionary.’
The objective here is to examine whether mission geared towards young people should be carried out exclusively...