When we started Faith Community Church in 2004, one of the first ministries to develop was a youth ministry. Because several of the original families in the church had teenagers, this was a natural ministry to develop. The youth ministry has always been led by volunteers, mostly parents, who have a passion for teaching the Bible to the next generation and helping them become leaders in the church.
Part of that ministry has been a week long effort each summer that we call Youth Explosion. It is a unique combination of games, food, fellowship, deep Bible study and leadership training. It is similar to spending a week at a high quality Christian summer camp, minus the overnight stay. The first Youth Explosion had about 35 teens involved. This year’s Youth Explosion, which happened last week, had nearly 125 teens take part.Part of what makes the Youth Explosion event so effective is the leadership training aspect. The main Youth Explosion session last 3-4 hours and is in the evenings. But during the afternoons a hand-selected group of teens and college students gather for three hours of high level training and service projects. This has equipped them over the years to lead worship, serve as small group leaders, teach Sunday School, share their testimony, engage in service projects, as well as a variety of other ministries. This past week the leadership team worked hard to demonstrate the Gospel through live skits and video interviews. They also led a contemplative prayer service for 100 of their peers. There is something about watching a 17 year old lead a group of 14 years olds into a closer relationship with Jesus that is inspiring.
As a result of last week’s Youth Explosion, there were 14 known salvation decisions and about 20 other decisions of various kinds. At least three of those young people will be baptized next Sunday. I am thankful for a group of adult leaders and a group of teenager leaders that can work together to share Jesus with the next generation. I pray that this type of ministry will be adopted by more churches so that young people across our nation can hear about Jesus from one of their peers.
To learn more about how Faith Community Church is reaching the next generation, read the book, Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church. This easy to read 107 page book tells the exciting “behind the scenes” story of Faith Community Church and other churches in Vermont that are reaching young people. It is filled with practical ideas for how churches in other areas can do similar things in their own communities.