The Youth and Family Service Team has served to advance healthy teen and family based ministries in our churches since 2006. At it’s inception, the committee planned the first Youth and Family Conference in Boston in 2007 under the leadership of chairman John Porter, evangelist in the South Florida Church of Christ.
He and it’s twelve members coordinated the Boston conference in 2007, the 2009 ICYFM (International Conference of Youth and Family Ministry) in Chicago, began a resource website at www.liveit2giveit.org, and worked with leaders from other service teams to facilitate healthy communication.
Current Youth & Family Service Team Members
- Africa: Southern Dave Pocta *chairman
- British Isles Adrian Hill
- Canada Kevin Hoecke
- India Roger Mathew
- Mexico Roberto Arroyo
- U.S.: ACR Doug Lambert
- U.S.: Heartland Maurice Hooks
- U.S.: Los Angeles John Mannel & Anthony Galang
- U.S.: Midwest Curt Ammons
- U.S.: New England Phil Arsenault
- U.S.: New York Damon Curtis
- U.S.: Southwest Shane Engel
- Ukraine Ura Kovtoniuk
The Youth & Family service team coordinates an international conference every odd numberd 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 2010, the Johannesburg Church hosted a Youth & Family Conference for church leaders and families, having over 700 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.
Youth & Family Conferences Hosted in 2011
Los Angeles International Conference
Lagos, Nigeria 14 Nigerian churches
Bali, Indonesia For SE Asia churches
Johannesburg For southern Africa churches
REPORT FROM LONDON submitted by Adrian Hill July 2011 saw the start of first European Youth and Family Conference held in London. Phil and Kris Arsenault were keynote speakers for the weekend entitled ‘Unshakeable’. Speaking on ‘Unshakeable Faith’ and ‘Holding the Faith; Hope for the Family’ Phil and Kris strengthened the faith of parents, teachers, church leaders and teens alike to realize we are part of ‘a kingdom that cannot be shaken’ and it will not fall despite whatever Satan throws at it.
Over 700 people attended the weekend and heard classes by Mohan and Helen Nanjundan, Andy and Tammy Fleming, Malcolm Cox and many others speak on building family, each in our own situation.
The impact of the weekend can be seen in the growth of the teen ministry with now 38 Christian teens in London. Parents’ faith is growing; they are studying with their children and helping them see God. Teens are reaching out to their peers with confidence, they are sharing with their siblings and helping them to study the Bible. The faith of the whole church is reviving as they see the power of a growing youth and family ministry.
We are so thankful to Phil and Kris for building our faith and to God who is truly 7 a consuming fire.
REPORT FROM LAGOS submitted by Chris Ogbonnaya
The Lagos Church hosted her first ever Youth and Family Conference from April 21st 24th, 2011. Attendees came from 14 of the Nigerian churches with about 400 families in attendance. Life changing lessons were taught by Larry and MaryLou Craig, Lewis and Tosan Livingstone Elders from NYC, and Onyechi Oguagha Evangelist from NYC. The theme of the conference was A”Legacy”of”Faith. The congregation was inspired by lessons on building legacies of faith in our families, no matter where we are at or where we’ve been. Blended families, Single Parents, and Disciples with Non7member spouses were given hope as practical lessons were taught. The Teens were given perspective about their salvation and parents were guided through the daunting task of winning their kids for Christ. Our faith was rekindled in our quest to leave a legacy for the present generation and those to come.
We also had an amazing second conference for the southern African churches in came with their family from Chicago to teach and inspire. We had nearly 1000 attendees including 187 teenagers!
The New York City church will be hosting the 2013 ICYFM.
Youth & Family Ministry Survey The Youth & Family Service Team conducted a survey at the beginning of the year. We asked the churches to help us collect some basic information that will help us understand how things are going around the world with our ministries. The survey collected the following information:
Number of Teens Grade 9712 Ages 15718
Number of them that are disciples
Number of teens that graduated from teen ministry in 2009
Number of them that were disciples still are disciples
61 churches responded to the survey. The cumulative data for these churches showed:
Percentage of teenagers that are disciples aged 14718 – 33%
Percentage of teen graduates that were disciples 2010 – 64%
Healthy Youth & Family Ministry Characteristics – DOCUMENT The service has also been working on a set of characteristics that really defines Youth & Family Ministry. This document will be presented to the delegates at the 2011 Delegates Meeting in Budapest in December.
The document reads as follows:
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 2:38739, 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 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:
1. Christian parents who are committed and involved in the spiritual lives of their teens.
2. A strong teamwork between the church leaders, the Youth and Family leaders, the parents, the teen workers, and the teens.
3. Parents being regularly equipped by the church leadership through both discipling and training.
4. Teens being discipled and matured in faith, character, knowledge, and use of God’s Word.
5. The majority of the kingdom kids those who have grown up in the church) being converted and staying faithful through their later teen years.
6. Teen disciples successfully transitioning into campus and/or single ministries where they continue as faithful and giving disciples.
7. Teens of non7members and their families being influenced by teen disciples and their families, studying the Bible, and getting baptized.
8. Strong spiritual relationships with the other teens, campus students, and adults across the church.
9. 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.
10. A dynamic, fun, and spiritual youth ministry!
Conclusion 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!
Dave Pocta Chairman,
Youth & Family Service Team