Basic Theology essential to effective Youth Ministry

Here in Massachusetts, our school year (and Ministry year) doesn’t start until after Labor day, and so while many of you are getting close to kicking off Youth Ministry for the fall, we are still in a bit of a planning phase. So we are working on our teaching schedule for Middle School and Sr. High for the year, and we are focusing on ensuring that whatever we talk about, it clearly portrays the gospel message. Why? Because obviously, the gospel is important, but more so we want students to see every week that the Gospel is not something that was simply important for their lives the day they accepted it, but is something that is intertwined with every decision they make.

So it’s gotten us thinking a lot about theology, because we have been discussing how different doctrines rely on the validity and understanding of the Gospel. Then I came across several articles that really kind of gave us clarity for our teaching this year.

We believe students need a deeper theological foundation built in Youth Ministry before they head off to college. 

And we know many Youth Pastors have this desire to preach more theologically, but lets face it, College/seminary seems like ages ago, even if it was just last month. So we thought this simple breakdown would be an amazing kick start for teaching theology.

Obviously, there are many other doctrines that are essential; the trinity, the inerrancy of scripture, universal sin, but if you focused on these 5 things this year, your Youth Ministry would be headed in the right direction towards truly effective Youth Ministry.

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Who is Jesus Christ ?

100% God, 100% man, 100% perfect. It’s essential that students understand who Jesus is, why he came to earth, why he died on the cross, how his death paid the price for our sins.

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Salvation through Grace.

Salvation is not something we earn, or something we can accomplish. What needed to be done has already been done, and even if it had required effort on our part, we wouldn’t have been sufficient.

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Jesus died & Rose again.

Paul makes it very clear in 1 Corinthians that if Christ did not rise from the dead, then everything about Christianity is in vain. Denying that Christ was lifted out of the grave alive denies that he was sufficient for paying the price for our sins.

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The Gospel.

The gospel is more than just us being saved, it includes our need to be saved. Understanding we are saved through Grace and the importance of the resurrection is meaningless without understanding the importance of these things to us. We are all sinners, we have all fallen short, but God loves us and saves us.

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There is only one God.

The bible makes this clear throughout. Not only is there only one God, but he is a jealous God, and commands we put no other gods before him. It’s always said that those who prevent counterfeit money dont study all the fakes, they study the real, so they can notice anything different when they see a fake. Similarly, the more students know the True God and who he is, the less they will fall for the gods of our day.

So these are not extensive doctrines that we wanted to write out, but what caught us as making these 5 essential, particularly in our ministry for this coming year, is that any other religion can agree with maybe one or two or even four of these, but they will all deny at least one.

This is what is huge for us. If students can understand these 5 doctrines, they can understand what seperates Christianity from all others, and find the validity behind Jesus’ words “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

9 Comments

  1. This is one of the best posts I have seen in awhile. I love it! I believe the reason we see so many students leaving the faith after graduation is because they don't have a foundation for that faith. They don't know why they believe what they believe, so at the end of the day, they don't really believe. The theological points you mentioned are imperative.
    • Thanks Austin, we'd love to see Theology take over more conversations in Youth Ministry. Its such a basic idea essential to faith that we too easily overlook in Youth Ministry.
  2. This is one of the best posts I have seen in awhile. I love it! I believe the reason we see so many students leaving the faith after graduation is because they don't have a foundation for that faith. They don't know why they believe what they believe, so at the end of the day, they don't really believe. The theological points you mentioned are imperative.
    • Thanks Austin, we'd love to see Theology take over more conversations in Youth Ministry. Its such a basic idea essential to faith that we too easily overlook in Youth Ministry.
  3. Teaching good theology and helping students learn how to read their bibles are two key components to helping students grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. I'm focusing on helping my students learn how to read the bible this fall, and next fall we'll focus on theology. These are 5 points are great places to start to in developing students!
  4. Teaching good theology and helping students learn how to read their bibles are two key components to helping students grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. I'm focusing on helping my students learn how to read the bible this fall, and next fall we'll focus on theology. These are 5 points are great places to start to in developing students!
  5. I agree with you 100%. Many of the students I interact with don't understand what differentiates the Christian faith from other faiths. I also think that communicating these ideas without helping our students understand how their lives fit into the picture is still a loss. Adolescents are incredibly idealistic and want to change the world. They want their lives to matter. We must teach them to understand that Gospel and then show them how to live out the Gospel. Great post.

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