We desire for our youth to learn how to Cherish God. Our verse for this expectation is Hebrews 12:28-29; "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire.'" We want our students to be thankful and worship God for His awesome grace, provision, and consistency.
The greatest commandment that we have been given is to "Love the Lord your God with all of you heart with all your soul, with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37). We are designed to receive God’s love and respond to its out-pour. The depths to which we can go in worship is unbelievable, and it is essential for our teenagers to understand this on an intimate level. That is why we chose the word "cherish" which means to adore, revere, treasure, and prize. It is a deep emotion and a commitment that is a basis for our relationship with Christ.
We pray for our youth to unite in Christ. Our verse for this purpose word is Colossians 2:2, "My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ," The goal of fellowship is to unite together with other Christians, building each other up in a healthy way that is consistent with the Gospel that we preach. We want to build connections in our youth group, in our church, and with other churches in the surrounding community. If we truly want to unite, we have to put aside differences in denominations and preferences. We learn how to work and play alongside those who may be different than us, and thus learn to see that Christ truly resides in everyone!
We work with our youth to develop an understanding of how to witness to others and implore them to move towards Christ. Our verse for this focus is 2 Corinthians 5:20, "We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God". The goal of evangelism is to bring souls to God and help introduce others to the Lord; the Holy Spirit takes care of the rest. We pray that our youth will understand that their role in imploring others on Christ’s behalf is both essential and narrow, and that they will understand the importance of evangelizing and become comfortable with the process.
UNEARTH & SERVE
We are all called to be servants. We pray for our youth to understand and develop a heart of a servant, and through this process, to unearth the unique talents that God has bestowed on each of them. In 1 Timothy 4:14-15, we read "Do not neglect your gift, which was given to you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters, give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress." We believe that God has a unique plan for each student and has bestowed a unique gifting in order to fulfill that plan. We desire that our students intentionally seek out their talent and come to more fully understand how they are 'wonderfully and fearfully made', and how they can serve God.
1 Peter 4:10 reads, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms." The goal of serving is to be the hands and feet of God. We pray that our youth will understand that their role in serving others is to show Christ’s love to others. This is a pivotal role because, in reality, sometimes the only Bible a person reads is you. We pray that service will become a lifestyle, not just an expectation of the Christian life.
We desire for our youth to mature in Christ. Our verses for this purpose word are Hebrews 6:1-3, "Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so." If we truly believe that these students are Chosen, we have to believe that God wants more than the elementary. We are praying that they progress past the child-like teaching and on to the meatier aspects of God. This youth group will only succeed if the students own their own faith when they graduate. They will all get to a point where they do not have to go to church, and if they still have their parent’s faith and not their own, they will not flourish in the way God intends them to. Taking ownership of faith, stepping into leadership roles, and discipling others are all marks of Christian maturity.