My 10 Core Values of Youth Ministry
I can hardly believe it’s been almost 8 years ago that Sam and I left our roles as senior pastors and came on staff at Victory Church in Atlanta. And there I was once again, after 40+ years in ministry, with a new church and a new youth ministry. After I’d been there for a while, as we prayed, we felt like the Lord was ushering in a new exciting youth ministry season for us. So, we unveiled the new name of our youth ministry, changing it from “212” to “The Capitol.” We had our launch night, and it was a great!
While we changed a lot of things about how we did youth ministry in terms of technique and styles, I remained wholeheartedly committed to the youth ministry core values that have followed me through my now more than five decades in youth ministry.
After this season of COVID-19, many of you are restarting your youth ministries as after months of “shelter-in-place” we are being allowed to go back to our church buildings. So, I just wanted to share my core values with you, my friends. You may want to consider some of them as you look to the future of your youth ministry.
If you were to ask me what was the DNA of my ministry run, it would be these 10 things:
- In the face of our society’s watered-down, half-hearted version of Christianity, The Capitol is unashamedly committed to WHOLEHEARTED LORDSHIP based Christianity.
- An integral part of The Capitol’s “DNA” is an aggressive commitment to PRAYER as the bedrock of all true ministry.
- In a world of sarcasm, criticism, and put-down’s, The Capitol is tenaciously committed to focused, purposeful ENCOURAGEMENT, mutual respect, and “FROG KISSING.”
- The Capitol purposefully creates a culture of TRANSPARENCY, AUTHENTICITY and “beneath-the-waterline” living and ministry.
- The major vehicle of discipleship and leadership training in The Capitol is our SMALL GROUP (life groups) system. We are not a youth ministry WITH small groups. Instead, we are a youth ministry OF small groups.
- CREATIVITY and TECHNOLOGICAL relevance are prioritized in The Capitol ministry. Though the message of the Gospel remains unchanging, the METHODS do not. Thus, we embrace drama, lighting, and other forms of creative and technological communication.
- As a ministry, The Capitol is committed to remaining VISITOR SENSITIVE. While still refusing to compromise biblical principles, we want to both ATTRACT and connect to non-believers while also ministering effectively to committed Christians.
- We, as The Capitol leadership, celebrate personal TEACHABILITY as a true sign of spiritual maturity. We affirm biblical admonition in the spirit of love, recognizing that “iron sharpens iron.” We abhor BACKBITING, DIVISION, and GOSSIP.
- A strong part of The Capitol’s “DNA” is participatory, passionate WORSHIP and EVANGELISM. Neither our worship nor our evangelism are “spectator sports.” Our worship style is participatory and our evangelism strategy is one of student-driven “friendship evangelism.”
- In conclusion, we in The Capitol believe that ATTITUDE is ultimately more significant than ability. This, in all realism of spiritual leadership, we celebrate “CHARACTER” far above “CHARISMA.”