The Basis for Our Ministry Model
For the most part, children were integrated into the gathered assembly of God’s people, regardless of the occasion. As an integral part of the community of faith, children are to be part of our worship. Furthermore, there is no text of Scripture that prescribes or describes age-segregated corporate worship. When the Bible speaks of corporate worship, a covenant renewal ceremony, or any other covenant community activity, there is not a single example of systematic age-segregation. To the contrary, Scripture demonstrates an unmistakable pattern of intergenerational worship, discipleship, and fellowship.
Parents and families play a God-ordained and indispensable role in their children’s spiritual nurturing. The ordinary pattern in Scripture is God working through covenant families to pass the apostolic faith on to the next generation.
At Faith Presbyterian we seek to equip families and provide support and reinforcement as parents evangelize and disciple their own children. We are passionate to help new believers, and others new to our congregation, in transitioning into this covenant family ministry model.
Since Scripture places such emphasis on parental responsibility to nurture their children spiritually—part of which is family worship in the home—our aim is to offer and emphasize the ordinary means of grace to all members in humble dependence on Jesus Christ for his blessing. Corporate worship is the weekly exercise of these ordinary means of grace—the primary means by which God’s people grow. Scripture teaches that God’s people are saved by grace (alone), through faith (alone), in Christ (alone). But the instruments, the tools of God’s grace to bring them to faith and grow them in grace, are the Word, prayer, and sacraments applied by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we believe nothing else the church does in our ministry plan should detract from these central instruments of grace. Indeed everything else we do as a body of believers should promote and coalesce with them.
Moreover, the public worship of God by the church is a covenantal activity, a sacred gathering set apart from the rest of life, and governed by the Scriptures.
In public worship, covenant children are brought with believing parents as they are summoned by God to receive his good gifts and bring him praise and honor. God calls his people together in order to speak to them and feed them in Word and sacrament. His people respond to him in prayer, song and giving. Over time, the children of believers begin to see what is different about them: they are part of a covenant community upon whom God has laid claim. They are part of a worshiping people who are in the world, but not of the world. And nowhere is their other-worldliness more noticeable than the corporate worship service. Therefore, the spiritual impacts of growing up as a member of this worshiping covenant community are immeasurable. From their earliest years, covenant children are brought with their parents and other believers into the holy presence of God with his assembled people. They see their parents and others humbling themselves in submission and service to the Lord. They learn to sing the Psalms and hymns of saints who have gone before. They learn to confess their sins to God and rest in his pardon. They hear a message that they cannot receive anywhere else in the world. They recognize that this weekly event is unlike anything else they experience in the culture in which they live. But above all, they come under God’s ordained means of spiritual nourishment and the way in which faith is birthed and sustained.
The Philosophy of Our Ministry
Based on these three main reasons we believe that by God’s grace, pastors, Christian leaders, and church members alike must be willing to labor for an entire generation, and possibly see very little fruit, so that the next generation might build upon our predominant emphasis on the preeminence of God’s Word and his methodology in our life and ministry. Admittedly, no ministry model will guarantee family covenant faithfulness and a successful transfer of the apostolic faith to the next generation. Only the Holy Spirit can accomplish this. And yet, we can legitimately expect that a model predominantly shaped by principles and practices in Scripture, in concert with an ongoing commitment to trust in God’s wisdom and his Word, will facilitate greater multi-generational family covenant faithfulness.
Then as relationships are renewed within family life, in all probability we will begin to see relationally healthy families revitalizing churches that emphasize relationships which in turn impact our communities and our nation. Our church fully supports a return to a relational form of living, especially within the body of Christ.
We need ministry models that will pull together people from radically different ages, radically different racial backgrounds, and different religious backgrounds, instead of offering ministry models which segregate people, and facilitate individual interest, social structures, and ideologies. Instead of placing emphasis on any given age group, marital or social status, we propose a comprehensively covenantal, all-inclusive approach to ministry which will address the needs of each individual and family unit as they vitally connect to (and participate in) the local congregation through multigenerational worship, discipleship, and fellowship. This is the pattern and model we predominantly see throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments.
Rather, the crux of this model is to set forth a timeless biblical covenantal methodology for doing church— overtly inclusive in nature—preeminently shaped and informed by Scripture, which will flourish in any era of redemptive history. Namely, this model will attempt to recognize and utilize the relational covenantal dynamics of multi-generational worship, discipleship, and fellowship as a means of transferring God’s kingdom from one generation to the next, believing that God ordinarily works through his established means of grace, and the relational dynamics within the community of faith.
Our Ministry in Effect (Discipleship, Service, and Fellowship)
Many families, particularly parents, when selecting a church, are looking for a conventional youth ministry where a youth pastor or volunteers meet separately with the youth of the church for social interaction, activities and Bible study. Consequently, we are sometimes asked, “What kind of youth ministry do you have?” Here at Faith Presbyterian, we promote, “youth in ministry,” providing discipleship, service and fellowship opportunities for our youth in addition to the primary means of grace (corporate worship and the sacraments).
Sunday School is a wonderful opportunity for young people to study the Bible with their peers. At Faith, we have a robust Christian education ministry. During this time, the students also join in a time of sharing and praying for each other. Additionally our older youth are given the opportunity to be mentored by our Sunday School teachers in researching, preparing, and presenting lessons.
For the last several years, a significant part of our VBS staff has been comprised of youth. These middle school, high school, and college students serve and often hold positions of responsibility within the VBS program. They are quick to point out how much they learn while having fun and ministering together.
These movie nights are new to Faith in 2016. They allow for an informal fellowship time across generation and demographic group lines.
Our youth are a big part of these meals. We join together around tables blurring generational lines. They are often seen helping in the kitchen with serving and cleaning dishes, moving furniture, or assisting wherever there is need.
Young people are trained and mentored in operating the audio mixing board and audio system for the morning and evening worship services. They often are available for other activities utilizing audio/video capacities for our Fellowship Hall for church activities and outside community activities also.
Our young men are given this opportunity to serve the church and assist in serving the congregation during the morning worship service. In this area they greet attenders, help in finding seating, give aid as needed to the disabled, and collect the offering.
Our young ladies are given this opportunity to serve the church and its families by assisting adult ladies in the nursery where they provide gentle, loving care to young children.
Young men and women with musical abilities are encouraged to be part of our choir ministry. This allows them to use and develop their God-given talents and abilities in worship alongside adults of all ages. Additionally, musical preludes to the services are provided by instrumentalists.
Throughout the year our church sponsors community outreach opportunities these have included Park Open Houses or Beach Outreach. The enthusiasm and energy of our youth are a welcome part of these events.