It is crucial that we never forget the why behind every what that takes place in our youth ministries
To help our volunteer team understand and retain the why for our middle school weekend services, I recently created a Sunday Services Purpose Statement, which includes everything we hope to accomplish on Sunday mornings. I then magnified each ingredient of the sentence to define some of the important terms and phrases and explain why they were included.
The purpose statement (with elaborations) is below. Feel free to steal it, use it as a template, or improve on it for your ministry context.
Our weekend services exist to provide a growing, weekly church environment where 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are welcomed, loved, and invited to participate in Christ-centered community and worship through fun, music, prayer, and teaching— with the ultimate goal of helping them start or strengthen a relationship with Jesus.
Growing: The more, the merrier! Unlike Small Groups, which are intentionally kept as small as possible, weekend services can never have too many students.
Weekly: Consistency is key for helping students discover, experience, and/or express the purposes of God’s Church.
Church: It’s a church service, a local, age-specific expression of the big-c Church, or the body of believers who exist around the world. But we believe church should be fun and interactive as well as informational and instructional.
6th, 7th, and 8th graders are welcomed, loved, and invited: Not just 6th, 7th, and 8th grade believers. ALL middle schoolers are invited and welcome to be a part of our weekend services, regardless of spiritual background or maturity.
Christ-centered community: A gathering in the name of Jesus. Jesus said, “For where two or three gather together as my followers,I am there among them” (Matt. 18:20, NLT).
Worship through fun, music, prayer, and teaching: Every activity that takes place at our weekend services is an expression of worship. Worship is neither synonymous with nor exclusive to worship music.
With the ultimate goal of helping them start or strengthen a relationship with Jesus: If a middle schooler already has a relationship with Jesus, we want our service environment and program to help him or her mature in their faith. If a middle schooler does not have a relationship with Jesus, we want our service environment and program to be a safe haven where he or she can belong and eventually accept Christ.
Taylor Bird is the Director of Middle School Ministry at Southwest Church in Indian Wells, CA. He has been serving in youth ministry for about four years.