Young people under the age of 30 comprise about 75 percent of the total Seventh-day Adventist Church membership. Youth ministry leadership at all levels has contributed to that encouraging statistic. However, unless the church is able to mobilize this vast, youthful army of the Lord, global mission will never be accomplished. Its success depends on how effectively the church involves young people in missionary activities.
How do we involve young men and women in the mission of the church? How do we ensure that they are given top priority in the life of their chosen church organization? Not only must we be concerned over those who are already in the church, we must also look to the needs of the new members in this group who are joining God’s family in ever-increasing numbers around the world.
Such is the challenge that faces every youth leader. We, as a church family, must provide a positive atmosphere where young people will feel accepted and loved. We all must be reminded from time to time that the primary focus of youth ministry is Salvation and Service. Bringing young men and women to the cross is only the beginning. Keeping them there by assuring them endless opportunities for service is just as important.
That’s why your General Conference Youth Ministry Department has created YouthFirst.
The purpose of this document is to assist every youth entity—Adventurers, Pathfinders, and Senior Youth—in making YouthFirst the central theme of all of their activities. “Business as usual” will not stand in today’s fast-paced, high-tech, sin-darkened world. We invite every church to implement the ideals outlined in YouthFirst as their primary method of involving youth in church life. Administrators at all levels must show the world that, in the Seventh-day Adventist church, youth come first!
We challenge every youth leader, Adventurer and Pathfinder directors, administrator, local church officer, and church member to prayerfully adopt these valuable and practical ideals for involving youth in the work of the church. The journey promises to be exciting. Welcome to YouthFirst!