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 twelve members coordinated the Boston conference in 2007, 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 & family model around our churches including the development of the Ten Characteristics of Healthy Youth & Family Ministry (see below) and the development of local youth & family conferences in different locations globally including Johannesburg, SE Asia, Lagos, etc. The team also hosted the 2011 ICYFM (International Conference of Youth & Family Ministry) in Los Angeles. This conference marked the beginning of the ICYFM and a parallel local parenting conference in the host church.
Current Youth & Family Service Team
The World Discipleship Summit in San Antonio, July 2012, marked the end of the second term of the Youth & Family service team. Dave Pocta was re-elected as chairman and started assembling a third team. The previous teams were chosen based on geographic representation. The new group is being formed around the development of five subcommittees. The subcommittee, chairman and purpose are as follows:
Chaired by Phil Arsenault, Boston, USA
- Develop local Youth & Family conferences in the 29 geographic regions.
- Advance the ministry practices outlined in the Ten Characteristics of Healthy YFM.
Teen Leadership Development
Chaired by Ruben DeAnda, LA, USA
- Develop teen leadership ideas, plans, and opportunities for our churches.
Chaired by Mike Block, Columbia, USA
- Website (www.liveit2giveit.org), Facebook, Twitter, and other communication methods.
Chaired by Dave Pocta, Johannesburg, South Africa
- Coordinate and develop materials from around the world to share on the website.
Chaired by Dinesh George, Bangalore, India
- Develop measurement tool in conjunction with the evangelists’ service team.
Each of the chairmen are working to develop a small team to work with them for the next three years.
The Youth & Family service team coordinates an international conference every odd numbered year (Boston in 2007, Chicago in 2009, L.A. in 2011). During the even numbered years, we have encouraged the geographic regions to host conferences that worked to facilitate the development of youth and family ministry in their respective areas. For example, in July 2012, the Johannesburg Church hosted a Youth & Family Conference for church leaders and families, having over 900 in attendance.
The attendees of the International Youth & Family conferences have grown significantly.
- 2007 Boston – 400 attendees
- 2009 Chicago – 700 attendees
- 2011 L.A. – 1000 attendees
2011 has been the year of global expansion. From the inception of the service team, most of the conferences had taken place in the USA. Now, there are nearly 10 local youth & family conferences that take places around the world.
International Conference for 2013
We are excited to announce the New York City church will host the next ICYFM (International Conference of Youth & Family Ministry) in conjunction with the 2013 Delegates meeting and the 30th anniversary celebration of the New York City church.
The dates will be as follows:
- Wednesday, 11 September – Delegates Dinner
- Thursday, 12 September – Delegates Meeting
- Friday, 13 September – Delegates Meeting (morning and afternoon), ICYFM Opening (evening)
- Saturday, 14 September – ICYFM
- Sunday, 15 September – 30th Anniversary Service, NY Church Youth & Family Conference
Cooperation with Other Service Teams
One of the most significant developments recently is the working relationship with the other service teams. The Youth & Family Service team is working closely with the evangelists and elders to develop ministries around the world and to develop a measuring tool for growth and progress. We are working with the teachers to coordinate and share resources that will strengthen families. Dave Pocta, chairman, will be attending the elder, evangelist, teacher meeting in Los Angeles in March 2013 to facilitate even closer working connection with the Youth & Family Team and these other groups.
The first official meeting of the new Youth & Family Service Team will be in Johannesburg, South Africa in April 2013 in conjunction with the Southern Africa family conference. This meeting will happen weeks after the elder, teacher, evangelist meeting in Los Angeles and will be the planning meeting for the NYC ICYFM and Delegates meeting.
World Discipleship Summit
The Youth & Family Service Team also had the honor of planning the teen track of the World Discipleship Summit in San Antonio. We had about 2000 teenagers attend with over 200 teens coming from outside of the USA. It was a truly inspiring time for our next generation!
We are honored to serve on this service team. We welcome input, suggestions, and ideas. Please feel free to contact any of us and we can bring your questions and concerns to the group.
May God bless our families!
Chairman, Youth & Family Service Team
Phil Arsenault, Boston, USA
Dinesh George, Bangalore, India
John Reus, Miami, Florida (representing South America)
Mike Block, Columbia, USA
Teck Ming, Singapore, Singapore
Ruben De Anda, Los Angeles, USA
WIll Archer, Nassau, Bahamas
Damon Curtis, New York, USA
Healthy Youth & 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 & 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.
- A dynamic, fun, and spiritual youth ministry!