About 50 people gathered following a session of synod to discuss a youth ministry plan being created by the Youth Ministries Task Force.
The task force was created by senior denominational leaders to develop a “coherent youth ministry plan” for the Christian Reformed Church.
“Our students graduate from high school and graduate from church, in many cases,” said Ministry Associate Ty Hogue, youth pastor for Harderwyk Ministries, Holland, Mich. “We need to help them retain a living and active faith once they graduate from high school.”
The task force identified three key needs: helping adolescents live in today’s culture, equipping adolescents for discipleship, and encouraging congregations to engage adolescents.
Elder Ken Douma, Classis Lake Superior, said that often there is a disconnect between adolescents and the older generations in the church.
“We should be focusing more on adults, teaching them how to live their faith in ways that kids will engage with,” Douma said.
Elder David Stewart, Classis Columbia, said that young people need to have real roles in the church.
“We have youths on every church committee,” said Stewart, who is youth pastor for Sunnyside (Wash.) CRC. “We’ve started to see a shift in the mentality. It’s becoming their church, [they’re] equals to the adults.”
The group also discussed ways to build relationships with youths.
“What if every kid had five adults who knew their name and cared about them?” said Hogue.