Congregation Based Youth Ministry

Congregations that have thriving youth ministry programs are found to have certain elements in place that intentionally and significantly impact the faith life of young people in their churches and how they live out their Christian faith in their community. CBYM (Congregational Based Youth Ministries) are committed to young people and raising up a new generation of fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.

FOCUS ON JESUS CHRIST: CBYM first and foremost place Jesus Christ in the center of everything. He is their focus and they have a strong understanding that God is a living God and His spirit is active and present in the life of their youth and in the life of the congregation.

PRAYER: CBYM immerse themselves in prayer. Prayer within the youth community and prayer on a congregational level are important pieces in strong CBYM. They not only practice prayer regularly within the youth community but they teach young people how to have a connection to Christ through prayer. The congregation raises up youth ministry in prayer and prays specifically for young people and the ministry on a regular basis.

GRACE: CBYM talk about God’s forgiveness and grace and practice it openly with each other.

SUPPORT: Youth Ministry is a high priority and supported completely by the congregation as a whole. Strong CBYM is looked at as a signature ministry and is raised up by the pastor(s), staff, leadership and congregation as a vital part of the life of the congregation. It is integrated into the entire life and ministries of the congregation.

RELATIONAL: Strong CBYM are ministries that foster authentic relationships within the group, with adult helpers and mentors, and equip young people to reach out incarnationally to their friends and community.

MENTORS-PARENT INVOLVEMENT: Strong CBYM raise up mentors (both adult and youth) who walk alongside young people and intentionally engage parents in the life of the youth community.

FAMILY/HOUSEHOLD: Along with engaging parents in the life of the youth community, strong CBYM provide support, education and resources to parents and households.

INTERGENERATIONAL: CBYM design ministry so that the youth are engaged in a wide spectrum of congregational relationships and that youth are invited to be a part of the leadership of the congregation’s life and ministry.

EXCELLENCE: CBYM are ministries of excellence. They are intentional, well-planned, goal-oriented, evaluated regularly and hold high expectations.

EDUCATION/DISCIPLESHIP: CBYM provide exemplary discipleship training that helps the young person and their families understand who God is and ground them in the teachings of Jesus Christ as well as teach them the foundations of their faith.

SMALL GROUPS: Youth Ministry Small Group Bible studies are an important part of the Education/Discipleship piece in that they are more intimate in nature and provide a deeper sense of community. CBYM connect young people to small groups so that they can begin to share the story of their faith and wrestle with how that faith is lived out loud.

WORSHIP: CBYM not only has high quality, uplifting and spirit-filled worship as an entire congregation but youth ministry integrates worship throughout the life of its community.

SERVICE: CBYM prepare young people and their families for daily missional living by providing opportunities for them to publicly witness to others through mission trips and service projects.

Published September 2, 2011

About the author

Audrey Duensing-Werner, DCE, was a music teacher for four years before becoming certified as a director of Christian education. She has served as a DCE in various settings and congregations since 1991 and is currently the Director of Child and Family Ministries at Concordia Lutheran Church in Kirkwood, Mo. She is a nationally certified spiritual director, has served as a speaker, author and presenter on numerous occasions at youth ministry and education-related events and is involved in the National Association of DCEs and Lutheran Education Association.
View more from Audrey

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