The UCC Youth Ministry is focused on partnering with families in their mission of passing the baton of faith to the next generation while also providing opportunities for teens to build lasting relationships with other Christian teens.
Research has shown that parents are still overwhelmingly the number one influence on the faith of their children, followed by peers. But our culture has that flipped and convinced us of it. Our culture has encouraged the distancing of parents from their children during the most critical teen years, allowing them to grow on their own while often remaining “hands-off”.
We believe that it is time for us as parents to take that responsibility back for ourselves because the other way hasn’t been working out that well. We are fully aware that it is difficult for parents to succeed in their mission of nurturing the faith of their children and that is where we as the church, as the extended family, steps in. As a church and youth ministry, our task is to help parents succeed by equipping them, encouraging them, and plugging them into the youth ministry program so they can be full participants in their children’s faith journey.
We want families to be the core of our ministry and we will provide a variety of ways for parents to be a part of the ministry. Whether it is teaching, going on trips, driving vans, or helping in the kitchen during events, we want parents to take an active role in the lives of their teens.
While we recognize the parental influence is greatest, we haven’t forgotten that the second most influential group for the faith of teens is a teen’s peer group.
During adolescence, teens are beginning to pull away from mom and dad and we must encourage that while still remaining ever-present in their lives, not giving up the influence God has allowed us.
As a youth ministry, we want to provide many opportunities for teens to make meaningful and lasting relationships with other Christian teens as they learn to walk in Jesus’ ways together. We will have Bible studies together, go on trips together, serve together, and have lots of meals and fun together.
Surrounding teens with this “cloud of witnesses” is critical to making faith stick in our teens. Even then, we still want parents to be involved with a lot of that too.
So come be a part of what we are doing, as we grow together, serve together, and learn together what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. We meet on Sunday for morning class, Sunday nights from 5:30 pm to 7 pm, and Wednesday nights from 7 pm to 8 pm.
For more information about the UCC Youth Ministry, contact Michael Santiago at firstname.lastname@example.org.