There are tons of “youth groups” in our region who are doing a lot of great things, and they’re going to reach many teens with the Gospel in great ways. Here at Roots Church, we’re not interested in comparing ourselves to all those other ministries and trying to do everything they’re doing. Instead, we bless those ministries for reaching the people they’re going to reach, and we commit ourselves to doing what God is prompting us to do here. We believe that in order to reach the people no one else is reaching, we need to do the things no one else is doing.
Roots Church functions like a family, and therefore the core concept of our youth ministry is family-based. That means teens are integrated into the multi-generational environment of our house churches. Their voices are valued, and they are treated as fellow members in the Body of Christ.
But we also know that teens need opportunities to build relationships with their peers. For this reason, we look for ways to connect the teens throughout our house church network—both for pure fun and also for encountering God.
As the number of teens throughout our network grows, we will choose events that best facilitate the group we have at the moment. Sometimes that may be as simple as hanging out at someone’s house or as elaborate as a week-long camp. Depending on the interests among the teens, we may host game nights, pool parties, cookouts, bonfires, and more. And while our church’s leadership team will occasionally organize things like this, for the most part all these things are initiated by families who have a heart to love our teens together.
Teamwork with Parents
Parents (and surrogate parents) are the first and most important ministers in a teen’s life. Therefore we at Roots Church prioritize equipping families with strategies for raising spiritually, emotionally, and socially healthy teens. This is done through personal advice, resources, and focused teaching events that are open to the community (covering topics like managing teenage rebellion, helping teens with drug addictions, teens and social media, communicating with your kids about sex, and more).
Campus Outreach and Evangelism
Roots Church strongly emphasizes obedience to Jesus in fulfilling the Great Commission. Students—especially those in the public school system—are encouraged and equipped to take the Gospel to their peers and make disciples. This is more than merely teaching them evangelism techniques. Instead, we help anyone interested to start and grow a movement of small groups on their campus if one does not already exist. Any teens reached will be invited, along with their families, to Roots Church events, hopefully introducing them to our church family and leading their parents to salvation as well.
The Family of God
We also believe one of the best ways to raise spiritually well-rounded kids is to give them opportunities to interact with godly people in their wider church family. Some of this happens at the house church level, but we also welcome and encourage multigenerational outings where people from throughout our churches can interact and have fun together.
Security and Safety
Anyone who wants to organize a church-sponsored event is required to first pass a background check to ensure they are safe to be with minors. If Roots Church is promoting an event, rest assured that the main people in charge have been checked and trained by our team.
Outside of church-sponsored events, when families decide to get together for a fun outing, the families themselves are responsible for making a judgment call about whether or not they feel their children will be safe. That sort of social discretion is normal and encouraged.
As an Assembly of God church in the Michigan District, we have the privilege of participating in District camps, such as Jr. High Camp and Sr. High Camp. These week-long camps happen each summer at Fa-Ho-Lo Campground in Grass Lake, Michigan. Students have an opportunity to have fun all day with peers, building lasting friendships; and then the evening services provide powerful opportunities for worshipping God, hearing relevant messages from His Word, and experiencing His presence together.