In 2016 Prince of Peace saw a transition in our Youth and Family Ministry. As DCE Emily moved on to St. Louis to be with her family, we were faced with the decision of who would take on this role in the future.
In order to determine the best “next steps” for this ministry, Pastor Green, along with the Board of Directors, assembled a small group of PoP members—the Exploratory Team—tasked first with answering two major questions: What are the current needs in Youth and Family (Y&F) ministry? and How do we best reach families in our community so they will come to know the love of Jesus Christ?
The first question required research within the church, including a congregation-wide survey and more in depth focus groups. These findings highlighted current needs amongst our members, most notably the need for a sense of belonging. Another recurring trend was that of individuals and families who are constantly on the go, and therefore strapped for time.
For the next question, we looked outside of PoP seeking information on our community and its needs. For this, we referenced a local demographics study and conducted interviews with leaders from the Engelwood Neighborhood Center (located less than a mile from our campus). Stand-out trends from this research indicated high numbers of single parent homes and families who are struggling financially. We considered the role a Y&F leader would play in outreach to these families.
Additionally, we reached out to leaders of thriving Y&F ministries from churches in Central Florida and beyond to discover what programs and efforts they are having the most success with. Some notable mentions were camping trips (forcing youth to “unplug”), engaging families in service to the community, and working to equip parents with tools they need to address spiritual issues in the home.
Based on our findings and through prayerful consideration, the Exploratory Team has recommended a full time leader dedicated specifically to Y&F ministry. We believe this person should possess the following characteristics:
- Nontraditional and capable of innovative thinking – we as a congregation should encourage and actively support their new ideas and initiatives as it relates to Y&F;
- Culturally sensitive and bilingual – in order to best connect with our entire congregation and neighboring community;
- Strong leadership skills – ideally someone who has training and experience working with children; and
- Exhibits passion about their faith – “contagious faith”
If there is one major takeaway from the Exploratory Team’s work, it would be the need for a nontraditional candidate to fill this position. Families face much different challenges than they did ten years ago and we need someone who understands those challenges.
These recommendations have been passed on to a new committee who will be tasked with developing and executing a recruitment strategy. Please keep the committee in your prayers as they seek to discern God’s will for this leadership position within our church.