UCA Youth Growing Apostles in as approach to youth ministry developed by staff of the Youth and Children’s ministry Unit (YACMU) in the Queensland Synod. This team of Uniting Church youth workers bring years of experience, study, research and commitment and combine it with a passion for ensuring that youth ministry is about faith and discipleship – not just games nights.
Thanks to…Steve Kersnovske, Jeff Savage, Tom Kerr, Michael Jeffrey, Paul Yarrow, Andrew Bell and Emma-Kate Hall
…for this excellent approach and their commitment to resourcing the congregations and young people of the Uniting Church (and beyond!)
What is Growing Apostles?
‘Growing Apostles’ is about intentional long-term discipleship for young people. It is recognising that our core business and call is not entertaining young people. Rather it is about helping young people meet the risen Christ, be grounded in Christ, grow in their relationship with Christ and reaching their friends for Christ.
The last thing Jesus said to his disciples was:
“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. GO, then, to all people everywhere and make them my disciples: baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
If we are to take the Great Commission seriously, we need to be intentional in what we do and what we don’t do with young people.
Growing Apostles is an approach to youth ministry that can be used whether your congregation has one young person or one hundred. It incorporates seven Soul Food Groups and The Fridge and The Skey – personal resources for daily growth with Christ.
Soul Food Groups
If you are involved in youth ministry, you should be asking the questions, “After young people have spent some time being involved in our youth ministry program, what do we want the young people to look like? What do we want to see them doing? What do we want to hear them saying? How do we want them to be living out their faith?” Below is a list of what aspects that constitute mature faith and that of a growing apostle:
God and I: enjoying an intimate relationship with God
Hanging out: cultivating healthy and authentic relationships
Serving others: using gifts and abilities in a life of sacrificial service
Doing church: belonging to and participating in a community of faith
Living life: being sustained, recharged and empowered by the Holy Spirit
On a mission: actively engaging in mission
Who am I: developing a Christ-like character
While you are helping young people grow as disciples of Christ, you need to ensure that they are being fed from each soul-food group. Just like we need to eat a balanced diet from the five food groups to maintain a healthy physical life, we need to ensure that we are eating from the seven soul-food groups so we can grow and keep healthy spiritually. It is very easy to focus on one or two of the soul-food groups and forget the other five.
So while you are selecting resources and thinking of experiences for your young people, make sure that you are helping them eat from each soul-food group over a year. Remember that ‘Growing Apostles’ is a long-term approach to youth ministry.
Finally, as a leader, make sure that you are having a well-balanced diet as you grow as a disciple of Christ.
Why would your church look at Growing Apostles as an option?
Well, because it is a long-term strategy for developing mature Christian young people.
It is an approach to youth ministry which enables you to feed your young people spiritually in a holistic sense.
Growing Apostles opens up opportunities for churches to see their young people develop into mature Christian adults, equipped to use their gifts in ministry and life, and passing this on to others.
Regardless of whether your church has one or one hundred young people, it needs to be intentional and strategic in how it helps all people grow and develop in faith.
This is an approach which can be implemented in a variety of contexts, and when you have so little time to spend in the ministry context, why not focus on that which really matters rather than organising night after night of games for young people, when the Church Council has entrusted you to lead them in the way of Christ.