General Synod delegates on Tuesday morning adopted a “Covenant for Church Youth Ministries” and encouraged local churches to do the same.
“The covenant is a way for churches to think about how they’re supporting a youth worker spiritually and practically,” the resolution states. “It is meant to be a helpful way for churches to think through the key issues in employing a youth worker.” In UCC guidelines, youth are defined as being between the ages of 13 and 18.
In reminding delegate of the Apostle Paul’s mentoring relationship to Timothy, resolution proponents from the Eastern Association of the Ohio Conference urged churches to consider training and development activities as well as spiritual growth for their youth workers. “Youth workers need to be able to understand the implications of developments in areas like technology and the Internet, educational and youth policy, legislation [and] health and safety.”
The eight-part covenant calls for churches to provide spiritual support to youth workers, opportunities for “retreat and reflection” as well as training and development. In addition, churches are reminded that a “youth worker” is not the same as a “youth program” and “having a youth worker does not release the rest of the church from our responsibilities toward young people.”
Congregations are encouraged to adopt this covenant as a guide to nurturing the gifts of young people, and use this “as policy and practice for employing, nurturing and supporting adults as they minister to and with youth.”