ZION MENNONITE CHURCH: A VISION AND PLAN FOR YOUTH MINISTRY

Developed in 2017-18

Section 1: Guiding Principles:

1.     A Biblical vision for growth in Christ: Ephesians 3:16-19 - “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

2.     Zion MC’s Vision Statement: “Zion Mennonite Church covenants to grow together as a Christ-centered community, extending our Anabaptist branch into our world, bearing the lasting fruit of discipleship, and planting the seeds of God’s reign through hospitality, service, and reconciliation with God and others.”

3.     A three-fold, interdependent matrix of faith-development practices and opportunities that will include and balance: 1) study, devotion and reflection with 2) social and recreational activities with 3) application and exploration of the faith through service and witness opportunities in word and work. Examples of these could be:

1.     Biblical and topical studies

2.     Games, movies, eating out

3.     Leading or participating in worship, service projects, singing at a nursing home, etc.

Section 2: Values for Faith Formation for Zion Youth (developed by the Youth Ministry Vision Task Group, Summer/Fall 2017):

1. Anabaptist/Mennonite perspective and resources on the Bible and the Christian faith and life

2. Safety for youth by following Zion’s abuse-prevention guidelines, but also for learner questions, disagreements, discussion, exploration, inquiry and direction of topics and input

3. Looking beyond ourselves to find and provide resources and resource people, learning/service and recreational opportunities, and other youth groups with which to engage and learn

4. Intergenerational enlistment and engagement of parents, grandparents and other interested adults in various supportive and leadership capacities in youth ministry.

5. A Covenant commitment and understanding of youth ministry shared by parents, youth and the wider congregation

6. Decentralizing and Dispersing youth ministry, so that, in addition to gathering youth for study, fellowship, worship, etc., youth ministry is also happening where the youth, their families and their friends are (e.g., their homes, athletic, academic and artistic events,  etc.) to do relationship- and trust-building, even family/intergenerational ministry.

 

 

Section 3: Some Practical Implications of these Principles and Values:

1.     Partnership between church, parents, youth, and ministry staff

2.     Sunday Christian Education classes, following a four-year cycle of topics that is affirmed and reviewed regularly by the Youth Ministry Support Council, which will include….

3.     ….Inviting, encouraging and resourcing youth in study, discussion and activities of their own interest and initiative, with the goal of youth ownership and leadership in this program

4.     Youth Group meetings apart from Sunday morning Sunday School hour, at a schedule set by the Youth Minister and the Youth Ministry Support Council

5.     Youth participation and leadership in Zion’s worship and other activities

6.     Fellowship with each other and with Christians of other youth groups and churches

7.     Engagement with and involvement of Christians of other ages and generations

8.     Service and outreach activities, intergenerationally whenever possible

9.     Attendance and Participation in MCUSA, PNMC, MWC and local conferences and events

10.  Awareness of and engagement in Mennonite and other witness, service and learning agencies and opportunities (e.g., MVS, MDS, SALT, DOOR, Jubilee Food Pantry, etc.)

11.  Social and recreational activities that relate to Zion’s vision and the values of our youth ministry program

12.  Responsible and effective use of social media and online resources for communication, class and discussion preparation and follow-up, and to enrich and engage family spiritual life 

13.  The active use and offering of resources and opportunities, like books, articles, conferences and resource persons, to encourage, inspire, educate and equip our youth ministers, mentors, teachers, sponsors and others working with youth.