What makes our student ministry unique?
The goal of the Student Ministry of Grace Fellowship of South Forsyth is to fan the flames of the affections of the students, their respective families, and all team members towards the greatness, beauty, and all-satisfying nature of Jesus Christ. As their affections grow, so too will their conformity to the character and priorities of Jesus Christ.
The student ministry of Grace Fellowship, known as FourWORDs Student Ministry, seeks to partner with the family as we reach, build, and equip both the students and the families of Grace Fellowship. The end goal is that each person is leading in a discipling role somewhere in their lives as they are conformed to the character and priorities of Jesus Christ Himself.
First, we believe the “good news” of the Bible is that Jesus made it possible for us to have a relationship with God by paying the penalty for our sin through being judged in our place on the cross. This is our hope and the center of our joy! Therefore, we recognize that when teenagers value what Jesus Christ has done for them they make honoring Him a priority.
Knowing What We Believe
Second, we are not scared of hard questions. At Grace Fellowship we believe that the Bible is our source of spiritual authority. This gives us a tremendous confidence that there are answers to every question that life will throw at a teenager. Also, we do not “dumb down” teaching simply because some may think that students can’t “get” the “deeper” teachings of Scripture. We think that students, when taught at an appropriate level and style, can—and should—work through challenging themes in the Bible.
Students Are Young Adults
Third, we also see students as young adults, and we treat them as such. Some of the greatest examples we have in the history of Christianity (most if not all of the Apostles, King David, Charles Spurgeon, etc.) are of teenagers who had a burning passion to follow and spread God’s fame and we believe that the standard should not be lowered to meet the culture. As a student matures in their faith, we seek to develop their leadership qualities. It is our desire to see teenagers who are God-centered, confident, and passionate about living a life of disciple-making.
Fourth, we believe the parents are the primary “movers and shakers” in the lives of their teenager and we consider it a privilege to join with them in shaping their teen to spread the fame of God. Therefore, we encourage parents to be involved in our student ministry in a variety of ways. Whether it is serving on the Student Ministry Team, helping to plan retreats, attending events, or just providing transportation, we believe that parental involvement is critical. We simply do not follow the belief that teens need to get away from their parents in order to develop.
What About Fun?
We believe that having fun is wrong… just kidding! We have a blast at all of our events! Whether it’s Capture the Flag, Game Night, retreats, or mission trips, we always have a good time! Is it all about fun? It can’t be… that’s not the fundamental identity of the church. Often a youth group is measured by whether or not a student had “fun.” That is a tragic measuring stick to use in how teens (or adults) relate to attending church. Why? Because we have been called to spread God’s fame by making disciples of Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:18-20). Since Jesus is our hope AND our joy having a blast together is the response of our emotions as we obey what Jesus told us to do! So, we define “fun” as pursuing lives that radiate doing what Jesus wants us to do for His glory and our good. Everything else is centered on how something pleases us. Bottom line? When we measure things (even church) in how they please or fulfill us, we make having “fun” our god and that is wrong.
The student ministry at Grace Fellowship has taken the name FourWORD’s Student Ministry. The name serves to highlight a key biblical truth and our philosophy of how we do ministry. As followers of Jesus Christ we are commanded to be holy just as our Savior is (1 Peter 1:15). In fact, the writer of Hebrews tells us that without holiness no one, students included, will see the Lord. Thus, we seek to press on, always moving forward, in our battle to pursue holiness in living lives that honor our Lord and Savior!
Additionally, the name FourWORDs relates to how we see Jesus doing ministry in the New Testament which is how we seek to do ministry today. Throughout His life Jesus sought to reach the lost and to build up those who had become His followers in their faith. Additionally, Jesus sought to equip His followers to go and do ministry as He did and, when they were ready, He sent them out and gave them opportunities to lead as they began that same process over in their own lives and spheres of influence. We desire the students in FourWORDs Student Ministry to participate in this process as we seek to reach the lost and to build and equip obedient and satisfied followers of Christ who are leading others in this process.
What is WIRED?
WIRED is FourWORDs Student Ministry’s foundational weekly activity. It is a high-energy event each Sunday evening where the students gather for a time of fun, activities, and worshiping of the one true God. We call it WIRED because we seek to connect the students both to one another as well as to their small group leaders. As partners with parents, who are the primary shepherds in the spiritual lives of their children, the small group leaders can have a significant impact in the lives of the students as they seek to connect the truths taught to the lives of the students. Additionally, fellow students can partner with one another on their spiritual journeys as together they seek to grow in grace and holiness. We call it WIRED, too, because our goal is connect all of life to God’s beautiful, sufficient, and authoritative word showing the students that it contains everything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Being connected to one another as well as to God’s word is the goal of WIRED.