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Biblical youth ministry produces revival generation, predicts Ross

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Churches that effectively impact the teenage culture in the new millennium will have youth ministries built on evangelism, discipleship, worship, ministry, and fellowship, a youth ministry consultant said Sept. 15.
Richard Ross, youth ministry consultant with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, said youth ministries which practice all five biblical functions of the church could produce a “revival generation.”
Ross, also a volunteer youth minister at Tulip Grove Baptist Church in Hermitage, Tenn., spoke during the Culture Shock ’98 youth ministry conference held Sept. 14-16 at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.
Coordinating youth programs by the “brochure approach” and simply responding to the opportunities of the day such as camps, retreats and concerts, Ross said, will fail to produce a “revival generation.”
“Youth ministers who feel — that by planning programs and activities and seeing teenagers occasionally coming to Christ at those activities — that they are fulfilling their mandate to be evangelists have missed it,” he said.
Ross suggested several ways to emphasize evangelism in youth ministry including: commissioning teenagers as campus missionaries; networking with youth leaders in the community to start Christian clubs at schools; implementing the “FAITH” evangelistic strategy in Sunday school whereby teachers become evangelistic team leaders; and ensuring that the gospel is presented at every youth event.
“One of the great mission fields on the earth today happens to be in the United States and happens to be on school campuses where you have this great concentration of lost people several hours every day,” he said.
With the disintegration of the family, discipleship is more crucial than ever, Ross said. “That is one of the black holes in Southern Baptist youth ministry right now,” he said. “Our parents do not know how to be spiritual leaders in their own home.”
Ross suggested holding small group Bible studies for high school students who are serious about their Christian walk. “Give every teenager a small group experience where he or she is valued and cared for.”
Fellowship is another means of meeting the teenage generation’s need for relationships said Ross, who is also the spokesperson for the international “True Love Waits” campaign for sexual abstinence until marriage.
Times of worship outside of Bible study should occur weekly where teenagers learn how to meet God during congregational worship, Ross said.
For youth pastors to be effective ministers, they should recruit adults to help them plan and fulfill the logistical details of events and activities, Ross said. The youth minister should “equip the saints for service” so that he has time to minister to teenagers, their parents and adult volunteers.
Describing ministry as “meeting human needs in the name of Jesus,” Ross said teenagers need to be equipped to help their peers during crises. “They are often the front-line of information received about hurting people.”
Ross said it is important that teenagers are confronted regularly with human needs. “Teenagers need to see the dark side of life and do something to make a difference there.”

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  • Lee Weeks