Let no one despise you for your youth,
but set the believers an example
in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12
My name is Lance Mennen and I am currently the Senior High and Music Pastor here at EFCMM. I am married to a beautiful woman named Tonja and God has given us three fun filled children. We spent 8 years living overseas which God has used to shape the way we see life and ministry.
I hope this page will give you some insight into what our Youth Group is like as well as an understanding for why we are doing what we do.
Sunday School: (8:30 Sunday Morning : basement of the CE Center)
Our Sunday school hour starts out with a time of worship with the Junior High students. We then split off from the Junior Highers and have our own teaching time. I like to teach interactively through books of the Bible using lots of examples and stories to help students see that the Bible is relevant for their lives.
Youth Group: (5:00 Sunday Afternoon)
The Youth Group at EFCMM is very diverse. We have students from Oregon HS, Dixon HS, Faith Christian, as well as some home school teens. Although our personalities and geographical locations are very different, we all get along really well. It’s always a warm and welcoming environment.
We generally begin Youth Group with some hang out time as people arrive and then move into an interactive group game. We then break out the chips and pop before entering into our teaching time. The teaching is relevant to issues High School Students face, and it’s always biblically driven.
After Youth Group, many of us head out to a local restaurant, Fiesta (Family) Palace. Some kids come along simply to hang out while others grab a bite to eat. It’s always a good time of fellowship.
Come Check Us Out!!
I desire to glorify God (Eph 3:20) in everything I do in ministry to youth! I try to please Him through the Exaltation of God, the Edification of Believers, and the Evangelism of Unbelievers. Everything I do in youth ministry tries to fulfill these three Biblical goals.
Since youth ministry as such is not found in the Bible I want to honor the institutions God has ordained: the family (Gen 1-2; Eph 5-6), the church (Mt 16; Acts 2), and the government (Rom 13; 1 Pt 2). The desire in youth ministry is not to compete with the church or the family but to be a supplemental blessing to both of these institutions.
I desire to equip and challenge young people as they begin their lives as adults.
My methods in ministry are dictated by my theology. The doctrines of the authority of the Bible, the person(s) and work of the Trinity, the depravity of man, the doctrines of sovereign grace, the church, the promise we have of the Holy Spirit helping us in our sanctification, and our hope in Christ’s second return all directly influence how I minister to youth and their families.
I believe students learn by hearing the Word of God taught, by seeing the Word of God lived out, and by applying the Word of God to their own lives. In short, they learn by hearing, seeing, and doing. Philippians 4:9 says, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.” I can control the hearing as students attend teaching times. I can help with the seeing as I and others attempt to live out our faith before them. They, however, must make the choice to live out God’s Word in their own lives.
Biblical Passages that Influence How I See Ministy:
Col. 1:28: “present every man complete in Christ.” I fully understand that I can not physically control the spiritual maturity of each student, but I can control what they hear and see in the student ministry. By modeling Biblical living and sound Biblical teaching I can provide them with the tools the Holy Spirit can use to mature them in the faith and to present them “complete in Christ”.
Ephesians 4:11-12: “equipping the saints for the work of service.” Every student is gifted differently and it is my desire to see the students using their giftedness within the context of the church as much as is possible. Providing students with opportunities to use their gifts is extremely helpful.
2 Timothy 2:2: When a student shows faithfulness and a desire to spiritually grow more, it is my desire to meet with that student and help them grow even deeper in their spiritual walk. In the end, I would love to see the student ministry produce students who have matured and been equipped to disciple others.
I am partial to teaching expositorily through books of the Bible, while I also understand the need to topically address specific issues students face. In either case, as the Bible is taught systematically students are able to see in action good methods of Bible study.
The majority of my scheduled teaching time is normally in a Sunday School type environment. I try to be real, relevent, and use lots of stories to help illustrate what I am teaching. Jesus’ parables are an excellent example to us regarding how people learn. People, especially teenagers, seem to understand truth really well when stories are used to illustrate the truth being taught.
I am not opposed to DVD’s or other teaching resources. I would use an Answers in Genesis video when learning about evolution vs creationism. They can teach it better than I can so why not use it.
I am opposed to making the youth group teaching time so different from the main church service that the two services become two completely different animals. High School students frequently fall off the spiritual map when they graduate. I believe this is due in part to the fact that they have come from Youth Groups that are extremely student oriented (over use of media, lack of teaching concerning their role in the body of Christ, not challeneged to think theologically, etc) that they do not know how to function in a normal church service. It’s not taylor made for them so they think it’s dry or boring.
Activities are geared toward generating friendships, encouraging fellowship, and providing opportunities for students to bring lost friends. I have found that it is often before and after activities that students open up and the Lord provides opportunities to sow His Word in their lives.
I encourage parental involvement. The reality is that youth mininistry is not found in the Bible. It is not my responsiblity to spiritually raise someone else’s children. That is the responsiblity of the parents. If I can come alongside and reenforce what students are hearing from their parents, then the students are often more likely to trust the guidance of their parents. I never want to undermine the home. The home is a God ordained institution whereas youth ministry is not. If the unfortunate situation arises where a student’s parents are teaching their child ideas which are in clear contradiction to scripture, I would lovingly correct those ideas, making every effort to in no way undermine the parents themselves but to rather show the student what the Bible says. If the parents were part of the church, I would also need to prayerfully and lovingly enter into a dialogue with those parents concerning the specific issue they are teaching their children.
Importance of Forming Relationships:
I believe that having relationships with the youth is essential not optional. The shepherd must know his sheep. Although God’s word is the power that brings about change as the Holy Spirit applies it to the heart, having a good relationship with the students is a major factor in how fertile the soil of the heart is. When a student knows that you have a genuine interest in them, they are much more receptive to anything that is taught or said. They are also more willing to open up and share their personal struggles. Godliness is often caught by students as it is modeled for them in the context of a relationship.
A Few Keys to Helping Form Relationships:
Every student is different in regards to how relationships are built so it is always my desire to be a learner of the students. I need to find out what makes them tick and ask the Lord to help me enter into a relationship with them.
Being available during good as well as difficult times.
Showing interest in what the students are interested in.
Our home is a key factor as students sense that they are welcome to pop in and talk about whatever they want to talk about.
The students must be shown respect and sense that they are loved for who they are (someone created in the image of God).
Down times and fun times are extremely helpful in forming relationships.
Relating to Spiritually Imature Students
I relate to those students who are spiritually immature with lots of gentleness and patience. As long as I am faithful to gently point them to Christ and His Word, they will learn with time as the Lord works in their hearts. No one grows up over night and most people grow best when there is clear biblical direction mixed in with lots of love, patience, and grace.
Relating to Unsaved Students
I relate to unsaved students by:
Seeing them as someone who is made in the image of God.
Understanding they are not saved and not expecting them to act like someone who is.
· Asking God to open doors to share the gospel with them and taking every opportunity presented.
· Maintaining Biblical standards in youth settings, but not condemning lost people for not understanding or not wanting to submit to those standards. Instead I lovingly explain to them what the Bible says and allow the Holy Spirit to convict the individual of their sin.