Deep & Wide Youth Ministry Overview
Deep & Wide Youth Ministry prayerfully pushes teenagers deeper into their relationship with God (a.k.a. "discipleship"), while also gently pushing them wider into the world with the gospel (a.k.a. "evangelism"). It provides a comprehensive grid (see graph below) for you as you develop a youth ministry philosophy that focuses on the Great Commission. The object is to, with the help of the Holy Spirit, parents, adult sponsors and others, take your teenagers on a spiritual journey past their internal spiritual apathy into spiritual interest and then, finally on to excitement and passion.
The power of this youth ministry model is that it is simple and Biblical. It is rooted in the Great Commission. The Great Commission has one clear directive and two clear directions. The one directive is to make disciples. The clear directions are to go wide ("Go and make disciples") and grow deep ("teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you"). As we build our youth ministries, we are compelled by Christ Himself to make disciples through this intentional approach. The Deep & Wide grid illustrates what this approach looks like.
The goal of Deep & Wide Youth Ministry
The goal of Deep & Wide Youth Ministry is to help teenagers attain a point in their spiritual development where they begin to become spiritual multipliers. This goal is summed up in Colossians 1:28-29, "We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me."
Paul's goal for the Colossian believers should be our goal for the teenagers in our youth groups and in our communities. Our goal is for every teenager to hear the gospel (that's why "we proclaim him") and for every teenager who responds to be presented "perfect in Christ" (i.e., spiritually mature.")
The X Factor
As you continue to push your teenagers deeper and wider, purifying their lives and calling out to God in prayer, He may be pleased to grant revival. At Dare 2 Share we call this "The X Factor." It occurs when the Holy Spirit combines the "/" of human effort (i.e., us seeking to go wide and deep in the power of His Holy Spirit) with the "\" of His divine touch on our lives and youth groups to provide an "X" that accelerates spiritual and numerical growth.
When you read the book of Acts you see The X Factor everywhere. You see an attitude of unity and selflessness ("All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had" Acts 4:32), you sense an attitude of excitement ("...much grace was upon them all...." Acts 4:33) and, of course, you see significant spiritual and numerical growth ("They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples....strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith" Acts 14:21-22.
What's the balance between what we do and what the Holy Spirit does? In the words of the old sage we must, "Pray like it all depends on Him and work like it all depends on us." If God is pleased to grant accelerated spiritual and numerical growth as a result of new converts through your youth ministry efforts, then you will experience the joy of seeing true and lasting revival in your midst. If not, then you will still be rewarded for being faithful to leading your teens in a Biblical model of youth ministry. Our call is be faithful to do what God has told us to do in the power that He provides, whether He chooses to grant revival or not.
For more information on Deep & Wide Youth Ministry read the Deep & Wide Paper.