Youth Ministries

The various youth organizations of the church should work closely with the youth ministries department of the conference.

 

Adventist Youth Society (AYS)—The church works for and with its youth through the AYS. Under the AYS leader youth are to work together in development of a strong youth ministry that includes spiritual, mental, and physical development of each individual, Christian social interaction, and an active witnessing program that supports the general soul-winning plans of the church. The goal of AYS should be to involve all youth in activities that will tie them closer to the church and train them for Christian service.

God said to Moses, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deut. 6:6-9).

The apostle Paul added, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12).

“We have an army of youth today who can do much if they are properly directed and encouraged. . . . We want them to be blessed of God. We want them to act a part in well-organized plans for helping other youth.”— GCB, Jan. 29, 30, 1893, p. 24.

“When the youth give their hearts to God, our responsibility for them does not cease. They must be interested in the Lord’s work, and led to see that He expects them to do something to advance His cause. It is not enough to show how much needs to be done, and to urge the youth to act a part. They must be taught how to labor for the Master. They must be trained, disciplined, drilled, in the best methods of winning souls to Christ. Teach them to try in a quiet, unpretending way to help their young companions. Let different branches of missionary effort be systematically laid out, in which they may take part, and let them be given instruction and help. Thus they will learn to work for God.”—GW 210.

“With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Savior might be carried to the whole world!”—MYP 196.

While there is to be an active AYS in every church, it is important that the youth program not be isolated from the rest of the church. In addition to their AYS participation, youth should be integrated into responsible leadership and in all lines of church work. As young elders, deacons, and deaconesses, for example, they can work with and learn from experienced officers.

“In order that the work may go forward in all its branches, God calls for youthful vigor, zeal, and courage. He has chosen the youth to aid in the advancement of His cause. To plan with clear mind and execute with courageous hand demands fresh, uncrippled energies. Young men and women are invited to give God the strength of their youth, that through the exercise of their powers, through keen thought and vigorous action, they may bring glory to Him and salvation to their fellow men.”—GW 67.

 

Adventist Youth Ministries Committee—The Adventist youth ministries committee is the umbrella organization in the church for the general planning of the youth ministry program. (See pp. 127, 128.) It includes the elected officers of the Adventist Youth Society (AYS) plus the personal ministries leader, youth Sabbath school division leader, health ministries leader, Ambassador Club director, Pathfinder Club director, Adventurer Club director, principal of the school, the sponsor, and the pastor. The AYS leader, who is a member of the board, chairs this committee. The committee should meet as necessary to develop short- and long-range goals and plans for a successful ministry. (See Notes, #16, pp. 170, 171.)

 

AYS Committee—The AYS committee is responsible for senior youth activities and works in coordination with the other youth entities through the Adventist youth ministries committee. If there is no Ambassador, Pathfinder, or Adventurer program, the AYS will include these younger members in a junior society.

 

AYS Officers—The church elects these AYS officers: youth leader, associate youth leader, secretary-treasurer, assistant secretary-treasurer, chorister, pianist or organist, and sponsor (who may be an elder). Since music plays an important role in the formation of youth character, musicians should be as carefully selected as the other AYS officers. (See pp. 92, 96.) This group forms the nucleus for the AYS committee, which in counsel with the youth appoints other officers. In smaller churches one person may carry several responsibilities.

The AYS leader must exemplify Christlike graces and have a burden for soul winning and contagious enthusiasm. In helping motivate youth to work together and take responsibilities, the leader will be in the background— guiding, counseling, and encouraging youth, helping them gain experience and the joys of achievement. The leader should study the youth profile of the church and seek to involve every youth in the AYS.

The leader will keep in touch with the pastor, the sponsor, and the conference youth ministries director, taking advantage of opportunities for in-service training and leading the society into a cooperative relationship with the church and the conference.

The associate leader (if needed) will assist the leader and will chair the AYS committee and perform leadership duties when the leader is absent. The AYS committee may assign additional responsibilities to the associate leader.

The secretary-treasurer will keep a record of AYS activities, submit 102 CHURCH MANUAL monthly reports on forms provided to the conference youth ministries director, and encourage youth to report their witnessing activities during the ten-minute personal ministries period.

The assistant secretary-treasurer (if needed) assists with the secretarytreasurer’s work as assigned.

 

AYS Sponsor—The AYS sponsor may be an elder or other person on the board who understands the objectives of the AYS, is sympathetic with youth and their involvement in the church’s ministries, and will serve as a valued counselor to the youth. The sponsor serves as a guide or counselor to AYS officers and joins them regularly in AYS committee meetings. The sponsor will work with the AYS leader to present the society’s needs to the board.

The sponsor should become acquainted with the conference youth ministries director and keep the director informed of changes in officer personnel and other AYS matters. Along with AYS officers, the sponsor should attend conference youth training institutes to keep informed about developments in youth ministry.

For the sake of continuity, the sponsor, if possible, should serve multiple terms.

 

Adventist Youth Features—To help youth grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ, the youth ministries department arranges age-related programming that provides an environment for development of spiritual gifts.

 

Adventist Junior Youth Society (AJY)—The objectives of AJY are the training of junior youth for Christian leadership and service and the development of members to their fullest potential.

In churches with schools the AJY is part of the curriculum and a teacher is AJY leader or sponsor. When the AJY is conducted in the school, each classroom is considered a society, with students in the lower elementary designated as preparatory members. Upper-elementary students are regular members.

Everyone involved in work with youth must meet Church and legal standards and requirements, such as background checks or certification. Local church leaders should consult with the conference, which will ascertain and advise as to what background checks and certifications are available and/or required. (See Notes, #7, pp. 168, 169.)

 

Ambassador Club—The Ambassador Club provides a specialized program to meet the needs of youth, ages 16 through 21. It offers young people in this age group organization and structure, and promotes their active involvement in the church, locally and globally. The club is designed to strengthen the current senior youth/young adult ministry of the Church. It challenges them to experience and share a personal relationship with Christ, helps them develop a lifestyle that fits their belief system and vocational interest, and provides them with a safe venue for wholesome development of lifelong friendships. Its activities are to be carried out in accordance with conference policies and in coordination with other youth/young adult ministries of the local church. The Ambassador Club has a director and associate director(s). The associate director(s) may also serve as the secretary and treasurer. The director is a member of the Adventist Youth Society committee.

 

Pathfinder Club—The Pathfinder Club provides a church-centered outlet for the spirit of adventure and exploration found in junior youth. This includes carefully tailored activities in outdoor living, nature exploration, crafts, hobbies, or vocations beyond the possibilities in an average AJY. In this setting spiritual emphasis is well received, and the Pathfinder Club has demonstrated its soul-winning influence. In many churches Pathfinder Clubs have replaced the traditional AJY. If there is a school, the Pathfinder Club should supplement the work of the AJY.

The Pathfinder Club director and deputy directors are elected by the church. (See pp. 105, 172.) If two deputy directors are elected, there should be one of each gender. One of the deputy directors may also serve as club scribe and treasurer. The director is a member of the board and the Adventist youth ministries committee.

Additional Pathfinder staff may include instructors of craft and nature classes and counselors who are each responsible for a unit of six to eight Pathfinders.

Resource materials are available from the conference youth ministries director.

Everyone involved in work with minor children must meet Church and legal standards and requirements, such as background checks or certification. Local church leaders should consult with the conference, which will ascertain and advise as to what background checks and certifications are available and/or required. (See Notes, #7, pp. 168, 169.)

 

Adventurer Club—The Adventurer Club provides home and church programs for parents with 6- through 9-year-old children. It is designed to stimulate the children’s curiosity and includes age-specific activities that involve both parent and child in recreational activities, simple crafts, appreciation of God’s creation, and other activities that are of interest to that age. All is carried out with a spiritual focus, setting the stage for participation in the church as a Pathfinder.

The church elects the club director and associates. (See pp. 104, 172.) Additional staff members are selected by the administrative staff of the club. The director is a member of the Adventist youth ministries committee. Resource materials are available from the conference youth ministries director.

Everyone involved in work with minor children must meet Church and legal standards and requirements, such as background checks or certification. Local church leaders should consult with the conference, which will ascertain and advise as to what background checks and certifications are available and/or required. (See Notes, #7, pp. 168, 169.)

Resources—For youth ministries resources, see Notes, #17, p. 171.