In an extraordinary youth ministry, hands-on ministry is more than going out and doing good deeds to feel good about oneself. Rather, hands-on ministry is grounded theologically. Adults show, from a Biblical standpoint, why it matters, how it connects with God’s love for the world and the life of the church. Hands-on ministry is the term we use in youTheology Institute to signify that service, whether it be one day or a trip, is another form of serving God in youth ministry. It is connected to everything else that you do for God. You see, it’s very easy for service to be disconnected from who we are as Christians. Hence the term. It also points to the importance communicating the meaning and love in service.
Putting the meaning and love in service means that you teach young people that service is more than being useful and getting points at school. It is loving as Jesus taught and showed us. You do this so that others would recognize, know, and praise God and you in turn would glorify God. You serve out of a heart of love and obedience to God and love and service for your neighbor. Yes. You’re witnessing to God’s love. As a result, whatever activity you do needs to be meaningful love in service.
Meaning comes when young people understand why they are undertaking a particular project. It is also fostered when they know about and then get to personally meet the people who will be loved and served. Furthermore, when young people understand the difference a project will make to these people who are being served meaningfulness is increased. Generally, an extraordinary youth ministry will work toward selecting projects that fulfill a known need of neighbors in the community and are in harmony with the capabilities of the group. Ongoing relationships provide extra value for love in service.
Finally, it is important to reflect on the outreach activity in order to ensure meaning and love in serivce. This reflection looks at how the group displayed love, obedience, and service to its neighbor(s). Young people examine how the group accomplished what it set out to in view of actual work done, how they fulfilled needs, how well these matched the group, and how neighbors were served. This is not an exercise about whether or not young participants are more grateful for their circumstances. An extraordinary youth ministry recognizes that increased awareness of and gratitude for one’s situation are just by-products of meaningful love in service. Always, it keeps the focus on loving, serving and obeying God; loving and serving people.
Live fully. Live faithfully. Serving God.
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