Ross responds to ‘Divided’ documentary on student ministry

Editor’s Note: The following is an audio interview with Richard Ross, professor of student ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, on the topic of age-segregated youth ministry and the controversial new documentary, “Divided.”

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In an article by Baptist Press, Sept. 26, Ross offered the following suggestions:

— Every church should call a student minister who is committed to seeing parents take their biblical role as primary spiritual leaders of their children (and when possible, as spiritual leaders to children whose parents are lost) and who will build his ministry plan around this central principle.

— Every church should call a student minister who is committed to seeing students folded into the life of the congregation, functioning as full laity and living in rich relationships with all the generations of the church.

— No church should permit practices contrary to Scripture to creep into the student ministry of the church — no matter how noble the motivation, such as increasing attendance or attracting unbelievers.

— Existing student ministers who do not understand the biblical role of parents, who think teenagers need to experience student ministry cut off from the rest of the congregation or who think the end justifies the means in terms of unbiblical practices need to work with their pastors on a clear plan for continuing education or need to seek other employment.

— At times, the best way to accomplish the mission of the church is for teenagers to function with their parents. Other times, the best way is for groups of teenagers to function under godly, biblical church leaders.

— Churches not in a position to have a youth minister should enlist adults as a youth team who will agree to partner with parents to design and implement a healthy youth ministry.

To read the entire Baptist Press story, click here.