But I want you to think a little deeper to what I believe may be the most important thing that any youth ministry needs. Yes, first and foremost we need Jesus as the focus of our ministry and the Holy Spirit empowering us. And with what I am about to say I am not diminishing that in any way or lowering the priority of this. But what I believe that every youth ministry needs, almost above anything else, is community And here are a few reasons why.
First of all, this generation craves community. One of the primary ways we see this is in the explosion of social media and the need to stay connected all the time. And one of the reasons is that students are not getting this community at home or at least not getting a true picture of what community is. Therefore, we must make sure we provide Biblical community to our students and fill that void that many of them feel.
Next, community and relationships are a vitally import part of being a disciple. For one discipleship is not to be done alone. Also, Jesus put loving your neighbor right up there with loving God. Not to mention that from the beginning God said it was not good for many to be alone and He made Eve. All throughout scripture we see the importance of relationships and that us and God is not enough.
Finally, real community is what will attract a lost world around us. Our world is looking for something and what they are looking for is Jesus, whether they realize it or not. Because we have this void in our lives that only God can fill and until we get that saving relationship with Jesus that void will continually be there. And with that saving relationship comes something else. We get adopted into the family of God and become part of a beautiful community the world can't come close to offering. I believe that this family is what will attract a world to the Gospel because it will stand out in such contrast to the world we live in. We see this in Acts where the early church immediately formed a community once coming to Christ because they knew they needed it and it was what Christ called them to. And I firmly believe this community attracted the world around them.
I am amazed again and again when asking students what they like best about church that it is not a band, or games, or even camp. It is the relationships they have with friends and with their small group.
You need to make sure that your youth ministry provides community to your students. Evaluate your ministry and decide where students are getting that community. Then share with us what you are doing to build community and make sure students have relationships with you, a leader, and each other.