Over the summer and early fall, more than fifty members of Trinity participated in a series of “Listening Events” regarding our hopes and desires for Youth and Family Ministry. As we listened and talked and discussed, we arrived at these five points as a summary of our shared desires. This document is being used by our Call Committee as we seek a new Youth Family Minister, and will be used by the youth ministry team as we continue to disciple the youth of our congregation. It is shared here, in full, so that we as a whole congregation can come together to support our youth and their families.

Listening Sessions Consensus Report

Big Question:  What are our desires for our family life ministry?

Relationships:  Youth and family ministry is built upon deep, committed relationships in which people feel known, loved, and cared for.  Relational ministry forms a sacred community, in which the people of God experience a relationship with each other and with God.  This sacred community involves meaningful interaction outside of just Sunday morning, life on life interaction where the faith is modeled by others as it is lived out.  Relational ministry creates an environment in which youth feel safe exploring deep questions.  Relational ministry encourages participation across ages.  It recognizes both the importance of youth building relationships with one another, and the importance of building relationships across generations.  It strategically creates events where youth have a chance to meet with other youth, as well as family events where youth and parents are involved together.

Discipleship:  Discipleship is about more than just head knowledge; it is about a disciple learning to become like the rabbi (Jesus).  It helps students get to know Jesus more clearly (orthodoxy) and helps them to follow him more closely in their lives (orthopraxy).  It sees discipleship as a lifelong process of meeting people where they are, and helping them to take the next step in following Him, from meeting Him for the first time to becoming a disciple who makes disciples.  Discipleship seeks to help youth and families view all of life’s many issues through Christian lenses.  Youth and family ministry seeks to equip families to disciple their children through devotional resources, marriage and parenting classes, etc.  While this person may not be an expert in all of these areas, he or she will know how to connect students and families to other resources that do exist.  He or she uses engaging programs and events to draw youth and families toward Christ.

Service: Youth and family ministry seeks to cultivate faith by having youth and adults serve in ministry.  This involves serving both within the church community and in the larger community and world around us.  Service challenges youth to move beyond comfort to compassion, and encourages them to put their faith into action.  By learning through doing, youth identify their individual strengths, and grow in grace, compassion, and leadership abilities.

Youth Focus:  The youth and family minister will be a relational leader, who knows the students personally themselves, and who builds a leadership team of other adults, possibly including interns, who know the students personally and invest in them relationally.  This staff person is dedicated to the needs and concerns of junior and senior high youth.  He or she respects the abilities of youth, and seeks to challenge and develop them as leaders.  While maintaining a focus on youth and their families, this staff person also sees ministry as a part of a larger whole, moving individuals from childhood through confirmation, high school ministry, college and young adult faith, into the whole life of the church.

Communication:  Accomplishing all of the above requires clear, consistent, and continuous communication with students and parents.  Good communication keeps the congregation informed and creates broad ownership of the ministry.  This person will make use of all communication vehicles available: screens, bulletin, e-News, Messenger, targeted direct emails, social media tools like Facebook/Twitter, etc.  This person will also have intentional one-to-one communication with students and parents.  He or she will seek to maintain two-way lines of communication, by not just broadcasting messages, but also hearing feedback, questions, and concerns.

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