Why do we do that?—YOUTH ON SUNDAYS
In this mini series, we are considering why we do certain things at Table Rock the way we do. For this first post, Don Straka is answering the question, “why do we have a youth gathering on Sunday mornings?”
Youth Ministry as Outreach
Our youth ministry exists to spread. When we gather, our heart is to take the gospel to the next generation. In addition, we view youth ministry not only as a way to serve the youth themselves but also as a way to bless parents. On Sunday mornings, we offer a youth gathering for toddlers and children in grades K–5 as a means to share the gospel with the children and to give parents a place to bring their kids if that would serve them. We rejoice that our youth program may remove a barrier for parents who would like to attend church but would not attend if we did not have a children’s program. These two convictions have led us to place children’s ministry under the banner of “outreach.”
These convictions inform how we approach our time together with the youth. We have two main priorities when we gather:
1) Gospel-centered teaching, and
2) Joy-filled fellowship.
In short, we want to be able to say that our time with the youth is an effort to pursue joy.
The curriculum that our volunteers use centers on Jesus. We are marching through the Bible to show how each part of the Old and New Testament points to Jesus. We don't want our youth to see the Bible as a manual filled with do’s and don’ts. In fact, we want them to know that works cannot save them. Rather, Jesus is at the center of it all, and salvation comes by putting their trust in Jesus who has paid their debt.
We view the reaction that “church is fun” as a win for youth ministry. If part of our goal is to serve parents, we want to serve them by having a place their kids enjoy going. We would love for the youth to think back to their time at church and say, “I loved being there.” So why do we have games, songs with motions, even snack for the toddlers? To leave the taste in the mouth of our youth that church is a place they want to be.
We planted a church in Boise because we wanted the gospel to spread. Youth is one part of that passion to spread. We want our youth to look back and know and delight in God. We also want anyone to be able to attend Table Rock and have the opportunity to hear the gospel proclaimed without a lack of children’s programming being a barrier. In other words, our youth ministry exists to spread a passion for the glory of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.