Within the Larger Family Ministry – The youth ministry will be pastorally shepherded and accountable to the DSC elders. Functionally this ministry will be led by the youth minister and shepherded by Pastor Tim Bradley (Children and Families Pastor) and Pastor Ron Giese (Administration / Leadership Development).
Family Equipping Ministry – Some age-segregation, but church calls, partners with, and equips parents as the primary disciple makers. Generations are intentionally drawn together, and the children and youth are incorporated into the larger body of the church.
Philosophy of Ministry
Just as God's glory is the center, focus, and goal of the larger body of DSC, so it is with the youth ministry. As we minister to the youth God has placed under our care, we seek to guide them to an understanding of the glory and majesty of God as seen in His perfect character and as revealed in His Son Jesus Christ.
The Bible consistently and directly places the primary responsibility for teaching, training, and disciplining children on their parents. The youth ministry can and will work to help parents through the reinforcement of what parents are teaching. But the youth ministry will not seek to be the primary source of teaching for the youth of DSC. We will strive to support parents in their God ordained role, not take it from them. Therefore, this ministry will by nature become a ministry to both youth and their parents. We will endeavor to become for both parents and their children a ministry of support, encouragement, teaching, equipping, and accountability. We will seek to be a resource and a loving family to everyone who comes to the DSC youth ministry, including those who are among us without Christian parents and family.
Our youth activities and gatherings will be limited in order to not isolate our youth from their families or the larger body of DSC. We will intentionally limit these in an effort to develop a culture where youth are integrated into the ordinary body life of DSC (corporate worship services, community groups, service, missions, etc.), while still providing regular God-centered opportunities for healthy relationships and development among their peers. These gatherings and activities will be the primary vehicles, within the youth ministry, for imparting Biblical truth to youth, and our greatest opportunity to partner with parents in "...spreading God's glory broader and deeper..." in and through their families and ours. The goal of youth ministry will be to consistently see God's glory spread deeper into the hearts and lives of parents and their children. And from this depth of relationship with Christ will overflow our corporate desire to see God's glory spread more deeply into the lives of those at DSC, and to our extended families, neighbors, schools, places of work, community, and even to the remotest parts of the earth.
Practically this means that through our activities, gatherings and teaching we will seek to see God elevated, and help everyone connected to the youth ministry see and understand His supremacy in all things. We will endeavor to see "Youth Stay in Church When They Grow Up," to put the "Family First in Youth Discipleship and Evangelism," and have a "Youth Ministry Done Well" (see summary of 3 College Church Wheaton articles below).
College Church Wheaton Summary of the 3 Articles
- They are converted — so we need to pray for the saving work of God in their lives and teach them the Word.
- They have been equipped, not entertained — "are we sending out students that will show up to college in a different state, join a church, and begin doing the work of gospel ministry without being asked?"
- Their parents preached the gospel to them — "the common thread that binds together almost every ministry-minded 20-something that I know is abundantly clear; a home where the gospel was not peripheral but absolutely central."
The biblical model is that parents are to be the primary evangelizers/disciplers of their children — parents need to take responsibility for this, commit themselves to this work, and not presume the church will do this work. The church must actively place this responsibility on the parents, and equip and encourage them in this work.
- Word-centered — send out students who believe, read, study, and love God's Word.
- Church-focused — "A church-focused youth ministry has leaders who go out of their way to remind the students (and themselves) that their youth group is not the church.
- Family-oriented — the youth ministry should stand with parents, partner with them and equip them in their ministry to their children.
- Benefits of a Youth Ministry Done Well — Young people hear voice of other godly Christians, young people need to learn to minister the gospel, young people encourage one another, young people will grow up, and young people share the gospel.