youth


Covenantal Philosophy


As Christians we have a God given responsibility to raise our children in the training and instruction of the Lord as taught in the Bible.  We promise to do so when our children are baptised.  So the primary responsibility for this training and instruction belongs to us as parents.  We cannot afford to neglect this responsibility or leave it to others.

As a congregation we have a responsibility to help and support our parents as they fulfil their covenantal responsibilities to their children.  We promise this when a child is baptised.  We also promise to be examples and witnesses as a congregation so that children grow up learning the knowledge and love of God as they are surrounded by Christian influence.

These two responsibilities; the primary parental responsibility, and the supportive corporate responsibility of the congregation, form the basis of our initiatives with Children and Youth in our church.

General Purpose (what needs are being addressed)


To fulfills our responsibility to be a church wherein our youth and children can receive sound spiritual and Biblical instruction.
To provide good examples and role models from within our church to young people of what it means to serve God in every aspect of life (keeping in mind that there are plenty of “appealing” examples in society of the exact opposite).
To be a church where our children and youth have every possibility to find and maintain friendships and social activities with other young people from Christian families within the church.
To strengthen the family unit and better enable parents to raise and train their children in the ways of the Lord.

Background


There are limited opportunities for our youth to choose friends from within the church.  In this context young people are likely to look for social contact and friendships from outside our congregation and possibly outside the church.  This may result in a decreased likelihood of them remaining in our church.
We currently have a large and growing population of children.  In a few years these children will become teenagers.  To proactive retention of these children in the church throughout their teenage years and into adulthood is desirable for the spiritual growth of both them and the church.
Currently there is little in the way of support and teaching for parents in the matter of Bible based Christian parenting.  It is more or less assumed that this will occur automatically.

Specific Aims


Provide young people (i.e. children and youth) with spiritual soul building instruction and teaching.   To teach the Word of God; not just the stories but how they relate to the whole of the Bible and the history of salvation.
To teach the Covenant of Grace. The young people must be taught to understand their total dependence on God’s grace and to thankfully seek his will in their daily lives.
To help instill in the young people regular Bible reading patterns.
Provide young people with fun activities within the context of the church, thus giving opportunities for them to interact among each.
Teach and help young people accept their responsibilities within the life of the church and thereby encourage them to remain an active part of the congregation.
Provide adult role models for youth (“mentoring”).
Teach young people to be active participants in the worship service.
To involve parents in the activities of the church that relate to their children, and to provide greater support, involvement and teaching on how to be a Christian parent.
Increased interaction and supervision processes between youth leadership and Session.
To provide a program for the Church’s teenagers which enables them to grow in their relationships with fellow Christian friends, and to grow in faith in the Lord God through Bible studies and discussions.
Youth Leaders must be identified who are mature Christians and have an affinity for the youth and children.  They must be able to establish rapport with young people and be committed to working with them both in groups and as individuals.  Ideally the parents of the youth should all be involved in planning and/or running of youth events from time to time.
To hold Youth Group meetings on alternate Saturday nights during school terms, starting at 7.30 pm and finishing at 10 pm.  They will usually include Bible study/discussion, supper and games (not necessarily in that order). The Bible studies/discussions will aim to be relevant to young people as well as challenging. Individuals from the congregation may be asked to occasionally help lead these.
To arrange special regular social activity nights or outings (eg camp). Where costs are involved, we will try to keep them to a minimum.
To aim, where appropriate, for separate activities for junior youth (12-14 yrs) and senior youth (15 yrs and older) to enable our youth to interact socially and develop Christian friendships within their own ages.

Church Education - Junior (12 - 13 years olds)


Resources:  Crossroads (Bibleway Publications)
Break Out! A study on Acts
Live It! A Study of James
A.D.: A Study of Church History
Family Ties: A Study of the Covenant

Church Education - Intermediate (14 - 15 years olds)


Resources:  The Heidelberg Catechism (Book of Worship)
Deeper studies of all Christian doctrines from a Reformed perspective.

Church Education - Senior (16 - 17 years olds)


Resources:  What We Believe - video series and study course (Bibleway Publications)
A broad look at the Belgic Confession.
At the conclusion of this course (1.5-2years) young people will be urged to continue on in seeking to grow in their knowledge and experience of the Lord Jesus Christ by joining a regular fellowship/Bible study group.

Profession of Faith


Upon request, in addition to the above, 4-6 meetings will be held with the minister to prepare for this event, and shall be concluded by an interview of a panel of elders.  These meetings shall seek to provide a familiarity with:
Book of Forms
Cannons of Dort
Belgic Confession of Faith
Heidelberg Catechism
Overview of the forms
Overview of the Church Order
Questioning by a panel of Elders
Resources:  A Summary of the Reformed Faith (Rev. M. Geluk)
When developing a syllabus for children from a very young age right through Profession of Faith, there is invariably a lot of overlap in the material of Bible stories/themes and doctrinal teachings. This is not a bad thing for it is through repetition at an ever increasing depth that our youth will better develop solid understanding and be able to retain their knowledge in future years.