Reaching Teens in Public Schools: First Priority and the Local Church
(YM360 Note: At youthministry360, we partner with a lot of ministries. First Priority is one of the best we know of at making an impact in the schools where teenagers attend. While we're all about what First Priority does and love to support their efforts, youthministry360 isn't officially affiliated with First Priority, and vice versa. They're just some good friends doing great ministry. We thought you should hear from them.)
Over the last few years I've had the opportunity to sit with hundreds of local church youth workers and I consistently ask them one question: "What comprehensive strategy does your youth ministry have to reach EVERY student on the campuses in this community?"
Out of all the great youth workers I have met with, none could share with me a strategy that reached all of those students.
There were always gaps. These youth workers' inability to develop a strategy to reach every student in a school is not due to a lack of desire, mission, or resources. These were all incredible churches reaching and discipling teenagers. It was not them; it was the reality of the situation that has been laid out before them.
The vision to reach every student, on every campus, in every community is too big for one local church. It will take many churches in a community working together, in sync, as the Body of Christ to make this vision a reality. That is why we exist at First Priority. We work in communities, networking local church youth workers together for a common purpose: reaching this generation.
The hub where all this activity will take place is the local school campus. Why? Simply put, it's where the students are. The way we must do this is by equipping students with a strategy and resources to share the revolutionary love and message of Jesus Christ. It's their mission field. They are the missionaries. The students are the ones to champion the name of Jesus on their campus.
Our role as youth workers is to set them up for success. We must give them the tools, training, and encouragement to take this love and message to their world. As we think about working together with a common purpose to reach a campus, I challenge you to think about your local church youth ministry.
- Do you have environment that lends itself to infusing the local schools with students passionate for reaching their friends?
- Do you have a culture of partnering with other churches for ministry??
- Is having a personal ministry on your students' campus even on their radar?
For campus ministry to be successful, your youth ministry must do these things:
- Value every person coming into a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ
- Disciple Christians to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ
- Encourage Christians to give their lives in meaningful service to Jesus Christ
Intentionally work together as the body of Christ
- Challenge Christians to impact the culture for Jesus Christ
Are you ready to unite to reach your city? First Priority can help.
Share your thoughts with the youthministry360 community:
- What are the biggest challenges you face in trying to encourage your students to reach their peers?
- What keeps church youth ministries from partnering with each other to have greater impact in communities?
What else is on your mind? We'd love to hear from you . . .