Spiritually Healthy Youth Ministry

Recognizing there are many ways church leaders and denominations might define spiritual health, the following is meant to act as a launching pad to assist in creating your unique definitions. Brought to you by the Canadian Youth Network.

Healthy Ministries

What is Spiritually Healthy Youth Ministry? The following eight categories are metrics to measure your youth ministry’s health.

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Modelled After Jesus' Ministry

Philippians 2:1-11
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Jesus' Ministry Values Were The Great Commandment & Commission

Matthew 22:34-40, Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 12:28-34, and Mark 16:15-16.
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Healthy Ministry Vision

That every teen will experience God’s love, have the chance to respond to the gospel and be discipled in a healthy church.
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Healthy Ministry Mission

To recruit, train and support leaders who are developing spiritually healthy teens.
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What ARE your ministry obJectiveS?

Reaching
Building
Equipping
Multiplying
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Programming includes:

Outreach, Bible Teaching, Ministry Training and Leadership Development.
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What are your youth ministry goals?

To take a student from their current level of spiritual maturity to a greater level of spiritual maturity.
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Levels of spiritual maturity:

Believe
Grow
Serve
Multiply

 

Healthy Teens

What is a Spiritually Healthy teenager? The following is a helpful guide to assess the spiritual health of a teenager:

1) Who is the role model of a christian?

A spiritually healthy teenager reflects a life that is modeled after Jesus life.

2) how was jesus’ life modeled?

Jesus was dedicated to the Great Commandment & Great Commission. In the same way, spiritually healthy teens seek to obey the great commandment and fulfull the great commission.

3) what was Jesus’ mission?

Jesus’ mission was two-fold: to give glory to God and to provide eternal life by doing God’s will.

3A) Glorifying God

Jesus gave glory to God by doing the will of God (John 7:17-18). After many of Jesus miracles, the people glorified God. In serving people, He was giving glory to God. He was revealing the power and reality of God so that people would believe in Him and have eternal life.

3B) PROVIDING ETERNAL LIFE

Jesus came to do God’s will which was to provide eternal life (John 6:38-40). Eternal life starts at the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; (Ephesians 1:13; Titus 3:4-7) upon acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Saviour (John 3:16; Romans 10:9).

 

How did Jesus accomplish HIs mission?

Jesus showed his love to God by making the following areas of character and conduct a priority. The following is a non-exhaustive list of key actions that Jesus repeatedly did in His ministry. Accompanied with each action is a Bible passage that emphasizes its importance. Use these actions as examples of ways you can help your leaders to grow:

 
  • Demonstrating Dependance & Submission to the Holy Spirit (John 14:26)
  • Pursuing Holiness and Obedience (John 14:15; 1 Peter 1:15,16)
  • Living a Life of Prayer (Matthew 26:41; Matthew 6:5-15; Ephesians 6:18)
  • Studying the Word (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • Praising and Worshipping God (Hebrews 12:28; Psalm 150:1-6)
  • Serving the Needs of Yourself, Family, and Others (Philippians 2:1-11)
  • Proclaiming the Gospel (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10; Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8)
  • Making Disciples (Matthew 28:19)
  • Committing to Fellowship at a Local Church (Ephesians 4:1-16; Colossians 2:19; Hebrews 10:24-25)

Critical Leadership Questions

The following is three healthy questions to ask yourself as you develop leaders:

Question 1:

What is the difference between you being the greatest inhibitor or the greatest accelerator of your ministry?

Question 2:

How do you develop the leaders that you release to make new leaders?

Question 3:

What ways can you improve your methods as you release new leaders?

Spiritually Healthy Team Development

6 Suggested Principles for Ministry/Leadership Training

The mission of Jesus included bringing salvation to humanity—and a careful review of the Gospels reveals the strategy he employed to accomplish that task. Jesus not only proclaimed the Good News, He invested significant energy preparing others to assist in that task as well. The Gospels reveal more than the history of His life, they reveal a strategy for building kingdom focused teams. A careful look at the interactions between Jesus and His disciples reveals the intentionality Jesus used to promote transformation in the lives of his followers. His hope is they would be so significantly impacted that they would become leaders who were both trustworthy and capable enough to carry the message of the Gospel forward and to build the church. Team-building was a priority to Christ. It enabled him to accelerate the spread of his message; the same strategy remains a priority for every leader. Build a great team and you will multiply your impact (Exodus 18:13-37). If your hope is to produce spiritually healthy teens in significant numbers, then begin with building a spiritually healthy team.

 

1) Character & Conduct
Healthy teams include people of substance who embrace a lifestyle that reveals a depth of transformation in their lives. In His attempt to build a team, Jesus inherits men deeply affected by the patterns and values of the culture in which they were raised. To counter that influence, Jesus took time to draw attention to the motives that drove the actions of His disciples. He invested energy, teaching them how to become people of depth through disciplines that would affect the substance of their lives. He taught the necessity of prayer, fasting, and solitude and modeled it for his followers (Matthew 6:5-18). Jesus understood that character is a product of the substance of a person.  He showed that substance is determined by what people pursue. Your first task in building a healthy team is to invest in the substance of those who follow you. If you have a team of people whose lives are impacted by a depth of a relationship with Jesus, they will inevitably produce a lifestyle that increasingly conforms to the Kingdom of God.

Christ wanted his followers to model a lifestyle that reflected Kingdom values. He modeled depth of character and then demanded it. The character of Christ is a product of the substance of His life, and the same is true of every leader. Spiritually healthy teams have their foundation in a pursuit of God, in His presence and in truth, which naturally enables transformation. Jesus demanded depth in the lives of his team members. He confronted the lives of those who served Him when a lack of substance manifested in behaviour that failed to represent the ethics of His Kingdom. Building a spiritually healthy team begins by leading them in two significant directions: spiritual depth, and the resulting conduct you require as a result of depth. In terms of depth—lead them in the pursuit of God, modeling said pursuit and declaring its value. In terms of conduct, we recommend that you supply every leader with a physical application including a code of character and conduct. If you supply written expectations, you alleviate mystery for your team members which allows them to gain a clear expectation of what you are asking of them.

Download Leadership Application and Download Leadership Agreement

2) Role
Clarity of expectation eliminates confusion. Jesus defined expectations for conduct but He also defined tasks for his followers. There were moments He asked them to serve and other moments He invited them to take the lead (Matthew 14:16-21, Matthew 10:5-42, Luke 9:1-6). The common thing about those moments was instruction. He took time to outline His expectations to His team—not only in terms of behaviour—but in terms of performance as well. Defined expectations brings clarity. If you desire to have an effective team, ensure they understand the things you expect from them. If a leader does not know what is expected of them they will inevitably become frustrated. In the absence of clear expectations, some leaders will become glorified babysitters or security guards while others will invent their own purpose. You are the leader.   Define the roles of your team and do so based on what you would like the ministry to produce. Your goal is to produce spiritually healthy teens so your task is to define the roles of your team based on that objectve. Build ministry role descriptions for your team. Paint a picture for them that helps them understand how they contribute to the overall goal of the ministry. Include elements that define their roles within the operation of youth programs, and what you are hoping from them beyond the formal moments at the church. If your goal is to truly produce deep followers of Jesus, ask your team to relationally invest in students and define what that should look like for them in their ministry role description.

Download Sample Ministry Role Descriptions

3) Evaluation
If you recall the moment Jesus sent his disciples in pairs to preach, on the heels of that adventure came a follow-up moment (Luke 9:10, Luke 10:17-24). He received a report of how their adventure went, and in that case, the reports were amazing! Together they celebrated the victories they had in fulfilling their tasks, thus encouraging each other. Accountability helps to sustain and build a healthy team. Supplying expectations for conduct and performance is only impacful if those definitions carry the weight of follow-up. Courage is required. If you hand your team members pieces of paper filled with expections but never evaluate how the team or the individual is performing in relation to them, the expectations are powerless. Healthy teams take the time to evaluate. They are led by leaders who have the courage to confront their team members when they fail to meet expectations. Jesus confronted his team ofen. He also helped them evaluate their performance, and in doing so, he supplied accountability that enabled their transformation. If you are going to take the time to define values and roles, please also take the time to measure the team’s performance. There is a power to move the team forward, and that power rises from the courage of leaders brave enough to provide accountability.

Download Ministry Leader Evaluation Form and Download Ministry Team Evaluation Form

4) Coaching
Structures are important for building healthy teams. However, without depth of relationship, teams are vulnerable. Jesus built a team on the foundation of relationship. He gave his leaders entrance into his life and they came to know him deeply (Mark 9:30-32, John 14-17). There was strength and depth to their relationship. Jesus’ departure from the planet left them reeling, and yet, they remained in His service. Healthy teams are a product of relational depth. Take the time to invest relationally in the individuals on your team. Discover their story—the moments and influences that led them to serve alongside you and how God has transformed their lives. Give your leaders insight into your journey as well. Let the people who lead with you see your passion and heart for the mission you have invited them to serve. Relationship builds unity, increases loyalty, and promotes a culture of strong community. People second guess leaders they are distant from, but will sacrifice and serve those they deeply care for. Make individual appointments with leaders a part of your strategy to build a team. Devote time weekly to coach and care for those who serve you. Ask them meaningful questions about the quality of their walk with God, their joys and frustrations as a leader, and pray for them according to the needs they express. These meetings also prove useful to process the concerns you observe in their capacity or character. They will draw people towards you as you draw near to them.

Download Coaching Outline Form

5) Chemistry
A healthy team is strongly connected to one another—something Jesus understood well. He consciously attempted to enhance the sense of community among His group of followers. Much of this was a natural product of the relational investment that He made with them. They accumulated memories and established a unity of purpose on the adventure He led them on. Near the end of their journey, Jesus prayed in John 17:11 for unity among His followers. He invested in their transformation and prepared them to be leaders, but, His prayer was that they would be united. Chemistry is a product of investment, of time spent together, of relationships built, and of memories made. Good chemistry enables a team to function well. Teams that work well together are characterized by a commitment to each other. The leader’s task is to invest in the individuals on their team but also to connect team members to each other. The construction of a healthy team requires a creativity directed at building loyalty and depth of relationship between team members. Teams that care for one another also care well for the things they do together, especially in an environment where the cause is worth working towards. Create moments for team building; feel free to be creative and have some fun. Schedule some adventure into your calendar with the express purpose of strengthening the relationships between members of your team. There is a power in shared adventures to bring people together—it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Just real.

Download Relational Team Building Suggestion Form

6) Resourcing Growth
Leaders are a work in progress. Exceptional teams are a product of intentional and consistent investment. Jesus spent three years building His team through teaching, modeling evaluation, and building relationships. He was intentional. There were things He repeatedly stressed in order for His disciples to grasp them so they could build healthy cultures in their leaders and churches. His investment was eventually rewarded. His team launched a movement with worldwide impact (Acts 2:38-47). Consider your team. What would a consistent and significant investment do for them? Most of the people who serve as leaders honour investment. Investment as a team makes a statement of value to them. Healthy teams are growing teams. They are growing in understanding, character, and capacity. Your task involves intentionally investing in the growth of your team in an effort to elevate the effectiveness in which together you produce spiritually healthy teens. Let your calendar reflect your intention to grow your team. Formulate an annual plan that includes when, where, and how you will train your team.

Download Sample Team Training Annual Plan

Canadian Youth Network

This resource was created by the Canadian Youth Network in partnership with several denominational youth leaders from CBOQ, PAOC, CRC, C&MA. For more questions, visit our main website and send us an email.
 
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