We must be intentional, creative, and strategic in making our church youth-friendly to properly disciple them for mission and church growth. Our churches must be youth. denomination that is not youth-friendly and not attractive to the youths is a church without a future and will eventually die off!

A youth-friendly church is a church with an international and strategic mission to reach the youths, enlist them for ministry, and empower them for church growth and global impact. the youths, adequately prepare them against youthful/contemporary challenges, and the” Total Life” of the youth (i.e., spirit, soul, and body).

Building a youth-friendly church does not happen by accident; it requires intentional and creative actions. The following keys are essential in building a youth-friendly church.

Clear Vision and Purpose for Youth Ministry: The youth and the church should develop a clear vision and purpose statement for youth ministry in the church. The vision must be in line with the vision of the church. The NBC Youth and Students Ministries. The department’s vision and mission statements are:

Vision Statement: The Youth and Students Ministries Department of the Nigerian BaptistConvention exists to raise champions for the kingdom of God, impacting the nations with the gospel of Christ.

Mission Statement: The Youth and Students Ministries Department is a purpose-driven organ of the Nigerian Baptist Convention that is. set for winning, equipping, and. Sending forth young men and women of the NBC on missions for the Lord.

In line with the above, my vision as director is: “Empowering the youth and Raising Champions for Kingdom Exploits and GlobalImpact.”

Biblical Basis: Jeremiah 1:1-12; 51:20-23: The Youths are God’s battle axe and agents of change.

Based on this vision, the fourfold commitment to a youth-friendly church includes:

Changing lives (salvation)

Moulding lives (discipleship)

Touching lives (empowerment)

Raising Champions (mentoring and training)

A Youth-Friendly Church Understands the Youth and Their World (Culture): Leaders and members of a youth-friendly church know and appreciate the youth culture,

A Youth-Friendly Church has a Vision-Driven Church Leaders: The vision of a youth-friendly church is owned, driven, and promoted by the church pastoradequate vision and support for youth ministry by the church leadership. Unfortunately, Evaluate your church youth ministry. How involved is the church leadership in your church youth ministry? What can be done to increase the involvement?

A Youth-Friendly Church Adequately Invests in Youth Ministry: A youth-friendly church sees youths as assets and eagerly and happily invests time and members to support and give to youth causes. What are the challenges in effective funding of youth and student ministries in your church, Association, and Conference? How can you mobilize adequate resources for youth and student ministries?

A Youth-Friendly Church Provides a Conducive Environment and Appropriate Youth Facilities: Youths cherish a good and exciting environment for worship and programs. This includes church buildings, adequate public address systems, media facilities, recreational and sporting facilities, etc. The youths should know the limitations of their local churches and support the church to make the provision a priority.

A Youth-Friendly Church Prioritises her Youths in her Calendar of Activities and Program Schedule:  Planning and schedule. Youth leadership must also give due, timely, and adequate notice to the church on their programs and activities. The youths should ensure their programs do not clash with church statutory programs(except with permission), while the church should not fix general church programs during youth statutory annual and strategic programs. The church and the youths should ensure that church general programs are beneficial to the youths and that the schedules of programs are favourable and realistic for effective youth participation.

A Youth-Friendly Church Embraces Creativity and Change: Youth-friendly churches are contemporary and not traditional; they are distinctively modern in style, current, and up-to-date in action and ministry methodology. Youths are addicted to desiring something new.

Youth-friendly churches do ministry in a way that must embrace changes without appealing and accepting to the youths; churches without changing the message. Prof. EminolaNihinlola rightly noted, “A church that provides with new ideas is wise and lucky. A church that opposes and suppresses her youths has no future.”We must be dynamic in creating changes in our youth programs and activities to attract passive youths.

A Youth-Friendly Church Assimilates, Equips, and Involves the Youth ministry: The church their home. Youths want a place where they can feel loved and accepted, safe and protected. They should not be observers and spectators in the church. A youth-friendly church opens the church for the youths and involves them in the life, ministry, and leadership of the church. The youths can also become committed members and not mere consumers or spectators. Moreover, leaders should ensure that church services and general church events are attractive to the youth. Leaders should also seek ways to have the youths serve the rest of the church creatively and regularly. How many youths are in your Church Council, Association, and Conference ExecutiveCommittee?

A Youth-Friendly Church Promotes Healthy Relationships: Youth-friendly churches are love-oriented. They show open arms and demonstrate a great sense of acceptance and practical love. Youths love fellowship, social gatherings, and intimate relationships; they are always in groups. A youth-friendly church provides multiple platforms for friendship and social relationships.

A Youth-Friendly Church Ensures a Simple Structure: Youths abhor bureaucracy; they want things done quickly and appreciate leaders who are accessible and give prompt responses to their needs and requests. Youth-friendly churches ensure a simple administrative and ministry structure. The youths must, however, be familiar and comfortable with the church’s administrative structure. The youths should be fully involved in the system, consider themselves as stakeholders, and constructively work towards changes if the system is faulty or unhealthy.

A Youth-Friendly Church Provides Right and Visionary Leadership for YouthMinistry: Youth ministry requires passion and commitment that can only come through visionary leadership. The youth-friendly church provides competent, effective, and efficiently trained training leaders and youth workers. The youth organisation must not be left to struggle on their own or left in the hands of those who are not passionately committed to youth life and ministry.

A youth-friendly church provides and ensures effective and balanced ministry: A youth-friendly church provides and ensures effective and balanced ministry to the “total man.” It ministers to the spiritual, physical, social, intellectual, and other needs of the youth. The church must work toward providing adequate programs and resources to minister to the spiritual, social, and physical needs of the youths. The omission in ministering to the physical needs of the youths is one of the major reasons for the exodus of the youths in many churches. A youth-friendly church understands the needs, gives attention to the needs, and prioritises the needs of the youth. They envision members, enlist support, and leverageon goodwill, and personal influences to meet the needs of the youth. What are the provisions your church has for meeting the diverse needs of your youths?

Our churches, Associations, Conferences, and Conventions must be more intentional, strategic, and creative in meeting the needs of our youths. An example of Emmanuel BaptistChurch (EMBC):

  • EMBC Annual Youth Conference: For spiritual and social needs.The Edge Summit: For professional, educational, career development, and entrepreneurship training.
  • Youth Empowerment Scheme: Providing loan facilities for business/financial needs.
  • Hands & Knees Vocational and Youth Centre (Fully registered as an NGO): For professional and social needs (skill acquisition and capacity building.
  • EMBC SportsMinistry: For social needs.
  • EMBC Welfare Ministry: For financial support especially education support.
  • EMBC Academic Unit: Facilitates admission and academic development.
  • EMBC Library: Academic and spiritual needs.
  • EMBC Job Search: To assist in job placement, internship, and mentoring.
  • Strategic Seminar and Worship: For spiritual needs.

A Youth-Friendly Church Provides Dynamic Worship: The provision of great music, lively praise worship, and powerful preaching is paramount in a youth-friendly church. Youths are a lively generation and want to express themselves in worship. The church must ensure an “Experiencing God’s Worship.” This implies worship that is made personal, practical, and exciting. The worship must be interactive; allow self-expression and ensure personal reflections and decision-making leads to.Transformation(change of life).

A Youth-Friendly Church Ensures Multi-Dimensional Programming for Success: Effective youth ministry requires proper multi-dimensional programming for success.  The church must focus on the five areas (levels) of ministry programmes.

Pre-Evangelism (Matthew. 9:10-13) -Relationship Building

Outreach (Acts 10:1-15) – Evangelism

Growth (I Timothy 4:12-13) – Discipleship

Leadership Reproduction & Development (I Corinthians 11:1)

Conclusion: Effective youth ministry reaches the youths at different levels. Appropriate and balanced youth programs should be provided for the effective growth and spiritual maturity of the youths. It is not enough to have many youth organs and programmes without appropriate programmes and adequate harmonisation of the programs for maximum impact. Our programmes must be purposeful, goal-oriented, and with definite targets.

The future of our churches and denomination depends on how youth-friendly our churches are, and how much the Church is willing to invest in raising and empowering this greatamazing generation for great exploits and global impact. It is also dependent on how dynamic and committed our youths are in impacting the church and this generation. Without dynamic and progressive youths, there will be no glorious future for the Church.The Church must arise and empower the youths, and the youths must also arise and build the Church