The Youth and Family Service Team has served to advance healthy teen and family-based ministries in our churches since 2006. At its inception, the committee planned the first Youth and Family Conference in Boston in 2007. The members then coordinated the 2009 ICYFM (International Conference of Youth and Family Ministry) in Chicago, began a resource website and worked with leaders from other service teams to facilitate healthy communication.
The second term of the service team advanced the youth and family model around our churches and developed the “Eleven Characteristics of Healthy Youth and family Ministry” (see below). Local Youth and Family conferences also began in different locations globally including Johannesburg, Southeast Asia, Lagos, etc.
In our third term we hosted the ICYFM (International Conference of Youth and Family Ministry) in New York City. This conference was in conjunction with the end of the annual delegates meeting to allow leaders from around the world to participate. The conference ended on Sunday at the 30th anniversary service of the New York City church.
At Reach2016, we had 2600 teens in attendance. What an incredible sight to see 2600 teens singing praises to God and listening attentively to God’s Word as John Markowski, evangelist of the Manhattan Region in New York, did an amazing job speaking to them.
On September 1-3, 2017 in Denver, Colorado we will have our first ever North American Family Conference entitled All Generations, a unique, multi-track conference that will bring together elders, parents, youth and family ministry leaders, children’s ministry leaders, and church leaders to catch and spread God’s dream of building a thriving multi-generational church that will reach the world. This is the first time a conference is focusing fully on “cradle to campus” and integrating them into the fabric of the church.
For the Family Conference we will start with a Friday Morning Workshop entitled “Cradle to Campus – A Comprehensive Plan.”
- Different people from around the United States with thriving and growing ministries will share how they are implementing a cradle to campus ministry
- Attendees will learn ideas that will help their church reach and baptize the majority of their children and teens as well as win families and teens in the world
Saturday in the morning and afternoon there will be workshops featuring three tracks:
Parents of all ages children and teens
- This workshop is based on your children’s ages, as well as classes addressing the issues that confront all parents. We are especially excited about two specialized workshops for adoptive families and families with exceptional children.
Children’s Ministry Workers Workshop
- This will inspire, educate and train children’s ministry workers on spiritual principles and ministry best practices from around North America. This will include the best people from around the United States that are passionate and have led children’s ministries for years. This will include working with exceptional children in our classes.
Youth Ministry staff and workers workshop
- We will cover the 11 healthy guidelines to build a dynamic, growing and faith-filled Youth Ministry. The teachers will feature Youth and Family Ministers from around the United States who are in the trenches whose ministries are growing.
We will have two keynote speeches. On Friday night, Frank Kim will do the opening entitled “Go and Make Disciples through All Generations.” John Lusk, the evangelist for the Denver Church will do the closing speech entitled “All Generations.”
We already have close to 800 registered. We invite elders, church leaders, parents of all age children and teens, youth ministers and workers, and children’s ministry workers to register for our North American Family Conference. We guarantee you will leave inspired, better equipped, with greater faith and with fresh ideas to make disciples through all generations
Register at: 2017FamilyConference.com
In June of 2017 the Ammons and Arsenaults will be traveling to Kiev, Ukraine for their 25th anniversary service. We both will be part of the Youth and Family program they are planning.
In 2018 Mexico City will be hosting a Family Conference for Mexico and their surrounding churches. Mexico currently has 800 children and 600 teenagers. This will be a God-glorifying conference!
Current Youth and Family Service Team
In our fourth term, Phil Arsenault was elected as the chairman. We are excited about what God has done and what he will continue to do in our Youth and Family ministries. Presently we have five couples on our team and will be doubling the team in the near future adding more international members. Here are our goals.
- Leave it stronger
- Matthew 28:18 – “go and make disciples of all nations.”
- If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
- Continue to build on what we’ve done over the past nine years
- 11 healthy guidelines for a Youth and Family Ministry.
- Youth and Family Ministers and workers mastering the basics.
- A network of Youth and Family Ministers around the world
- We will build a network of ministers where we can learn from one another, gain fresh ideas and continue to have deep convictions on building growing and God-glorifying Youth and Family Ministries.
- Raise up Youth and Family Ministers to raise up others.
- At the Family Conference we have over 240 signed up for the Youth and Family ministers and workers workshop. It’s exciting to anticipate what God will do!
- Subcommittees already formed and that will be formed in the near future
- Winning the majority of Christian-parented teens as well as winning teens in the world and their families.
- Fathers being family shepherds. Partnering with the Elders Service Team to train fathers to raise their children in the instruction of the Lord.
- Children’s Ministry putting together a parent curriculum for the home. We will partner with the Elders committee in getting this done.
- Leadership development for Youth and Family ministers.
- Resources and training tips for non-paid Youth and Family volunteers.
- Effective teen events around the world. Communicating to Youth and Family ministers around the world what is working so we are able to learn from one another and gain fresh ideas.
- Stronger presence for Youth and Family Ministry on social media.
- Building hubs around the world so we can connect worldwide which includes connecting with smaller churches.
- Create unified communication with church leaders. Having conversations with church leaders about importance of Youth and Family Ministry status, health and needs.
- Providing training on working with exceptional children.
Cooperation with Other Service Teams
One of the most significant developments recently is the working relationship with the other service teams. The Youth and Family Service team will work closely with the evangelists to develop ministries around the world. We will work closely with the elders and teachers to coordinate and share resources that will strengthen families.
Our next Youth and Family Committee meeting will be on Thursday, August 31st in Denver, Colorado. This is one day before the North American Family Conference begins in Denver.
We cannot thank enough all the couples that have served tirelessly on the Youth and Family Service Team in the past. They all have made a significant impact on the growth of our ministries. We especially thank Dave and Beth Pocta. Dave served six years as our chairman. He was instrumental in setting a foundation for this team and it will pay eternal dividends through the generations. All of us who served on the team with the Poctas became more competent Youth and Family ministers. We will continue to consult with Dave and Beth and deeply thank them for all their sacrifice.
We are honored to serve on this service team. We welcome input, suggestions, and ideas. Please feel free to contact any of us.
May God bless all of our efforts!
Phil & Kris Arsenault, Chairman – Boston, Massachusetts
Damon & Michelle Curtis – Houston, Texas
Eric & Megan Testa – Indianapolis, Indiana
Kevin & Nadene Joachim – Toronto, Canada
Curt & Heidi Ammons – Chicago, Illinois
Healthy Youth and Family Ministry Characteristics
God’s salvation plan has always involved families. At the beginning of the Hebrew Canon in Genesis 17:7 God promised Abraham, “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”
As the church began in Acts 2:38-39, the promise was echoed, “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Our churches should reflect God’s heart for the generations. God’s will is that faith should be passed on to our children. While the name Youth and Family Ministry is fairly new to our family of churches, the concept is not. We have always desired our children to have deep, meaningful relationships with God. The shift is purposeful in recognizing the importance and influence of the family in the spiritual development of our children. The family has always been God’s primary vessel. The church works alongside the family to assist in spiritual formation and discipleship.
Obviously each church is different. We have different needs and resources. We will have different schedules and methods, but we can look at common traits that should be in place for any healthy ministry. There are some tangible measurements to determine a church’s effectiveness, such as the number of teenagers that are disciples. But there are many intangibles that are important as well. We have listed some critical characteristics herein:
- Christian parents who are committed and involved in the spiritual lives of their teens.
- A strong teamwork between the church leaders, the Youth and Family leaders, the parents, the teen workers, and the teens.
- Parents being regularly equipped by the church leadership through both discipling and training.
- Teens being discipled and matured in faith, character, knowledge, and use of God’s Word.
- The majority of the kingdom kids (those who have grown up in the church) being converted and staying faithful through their later teen years.
- Teen disciples successfully transitioning into campus and/or single ministries where they continue as faithful and giving disciples.
- Teens of non-members and their families being influenced by teen disciples and their families, studying the Bible, and getting baptized.
- Strong spiritual relationships with the other teens, campus students, and adults across the church.
- A strong connection to other Youth and Family Ministries in sister churches, to the International Conference of Youth and Family Ministry, and to HOPE Youth Corps.
- Teens serving the poor.
- A dynamic, growing and spiritual youth ministry!