Assemblies of God youth ministry had another significant year in 2011. And there is no need to decelerate.
There are more students in our churches than ever before. The 2010 All Church Ministries Report (ACMR) data from the General Council of the Assemblies of God indicates 560,608 student adherents between the ages of 12-22. The same ACMR reports AG youth group adherents had reached almost 385,000 in 9,331 youth groups. Paid youth group leaders totaled 3,143. The average youth group size has reached 41.1 students per group. (Look for a more complete report to be published at youth.ag.org in February.) Assemblies of God youth ministries appear headed in the right direction. Let us as leaders determine to accelerate momentum.
Ministry to students in our fellowship is growing but we can do better. Assemblies of God youth ministry has a greater potential than our present state. We can double our constituency. Our student constituency represents only 2% of America’s junior high and senior high school population. There are millions of unbelieving students in our nation. Multitudes of underdogs await, knowingly or not, a championship investment from a leader full of faith in Jesus Christ.
Take faith. Truly our fellowship is but one step away from one million student adherents. If our 500,000+ students would be relentless after another one our youth adherents would number over 1,000,000.
Assemblies of God youth leaders must keep clear focus on the full meaning of “make disciples” with the Great Commission. It is just as important to understand a growing disciple as a soul winner as a person of prayer. Discipleship is not a state of spiritual maturity. It is following Jesus. Jesus remains on a mission for people. Discipleship must be effectively evangelistic or it is not fully discipleship. The call is for disciples who make disciples. Our student ministry can be more intentionally evangelistic both personally and collectively.
In a day when it is becoming increasingly more popular to attack the Christian faith, there remains a great need for a strategic student ministry from the Church. Moreover, that ministry should be boldly yet respectfully Pentecostal. The Scriptures are clear. In the last days God will pour out His Spirit on the sons and daughters. It is a biblical emphasis we must hold fast to in our fellowship and render to this generation. We need it. They need it.
2012 is going be a year of multiplication filled with fresh opportunities. With God’s help, dreams for this generation of students will lengthen its stride. Let us press on with the love of Jesus Christ for this generation!
To quote my childhood hero, Pete Maravich, from his latter Christian years, “Love never fails, character never quits, and with patience and persistence, dreams do come true.”