David Shaw outlines the importance of having well-trained Youth and Children's workers and how our newly revalidated undergraduate programmes provide that.
We want the best for our children; it’s a natural impulse. And so we are willing to make sacrifices for them. To go without so that they can have the best.
It’s true in many areas of life, but it’s not always been true when it comes to the church’s youth and children’s work. We usually expect our minister to be qualified and well-trained, but anyone with a bit of energy and a few games up their sleeve can handle the youth and children’s work.
And yet a biblically-based and integrated youth work is such a blessing to a church and its community:
- Where the leaders are godly and mature examples to those under their care.
- Where they have a deep enough grasp of the Scriptures and Christian theology to be able to explain it simply.
- Where they have a thought-through doctrine of the church, so that they know how their ministry relates to the responsibilities of parents and the life of the church family.
- Where they are able to engage theologically and pastorally with the pressures and challenges of a rapidly-changing culture.
For many years now, Oak Hill has been training youth and children’s workers with these priorities in mind. It’s why we have always emphasised the need for youth and children’s workers to be well-trained in Scripture, theology, and culture, and to be well-discipled in wise and Christ-like living. To emphasise our conviction that youth and children’s ministry requires the same combination of character, knowledge and skills as any ministry, we no longer run a specialised Youth and Children’s Ministry stream. Instead, students can sign up for one, two, or three years of study, combining all the theological disciplines with optional modules in various aspects of youth and children’s ministry.
In these newly designed programmes, launching in Sept 2020, we have refined the content and flexibility of our provision for youth and children’s ministry in a number of ways:
First, there is a greater emphasis than ever on the cultivation of a humble, godly, and generous model of ministry. Second, we now have specialist taught modules across every year of study, including a new third year module Training & Equipping Others for Children’s, Youth & Family Ministry. Third, as with a variety of other modules, we are able to offer selected youth and children’s ministry modules as summer intensives, enabling even more people to access the highest quality of training.
The 'We are for' series:
Part I: Church leaders
Part II: Cross-cultural workers
Part III: Pastoral workers