This dissertation begins with the problem that local church leaders, Sunday school teachers
and adult youth leaders do not have a holistic understanding of what youth ministry is or how
to start with youth ministry. And there is a wide gap between adults and the youth because
they do not have enough information about today’s youth.
Youth ministry has been viewed as something separate from the main church. But the
inclusive congregational approach is that youth ministry is part of a comprehensive
congregational ministry with a differentiated and focused way, to, with and through youth as
an integral part of the church.
This dissertation looks into the literature on theories of child development, today’s youth,
family, mentoring, and confirmation to understand youth in the church. Church leaders and
teachers need enough information about the youth and must be aware of the youth’s
developmental needs. Especially church leaders and teachers must work with the parents of
the youth to focus on strong Christian education to connect the generations. They have to
respond to the youth’s crucial questions and issues of today. Then the youth can find what
God intends them to become.
This research focused on 73 church leaders and teachers in 11 WEMI (World Evangelical
Mission International) churches in South Africa. A high percentage of the respondents
understood the concept of youth ministry. But their main problem or difficulty remained the
lack of training to understand youth and the biblical text.
The results of empirical research presented the actual condition of youth ministry in WEMI
churches in South Africa. The churches have to prepare intentional and strategic training for
teachers to get enough information about today’s youth, teaching and communication skill,
leadership development, counselling and knowledge of the Bible.
When the church leaders and teachers are equipped and trained for God’s work, the youth
ministry will be built up strongly in the local church, and the youth will find themselves as
the body of Christ.
Dissertation (MA Theol)--University of Pretoria, 2013.