The mission of the church is to reach out to those within the community, receive them as they are, relate them to God, nurture and equip them, and send them back into the community in order to make the community a more loving and just place in which to live. With that in mind, the United Methodist Men’s Foundation established an Office of Civic Youth-Serving Agencies/Scouting Ministries. The purpose of this office is to promote the use of programs across the Church and to help local congregations understand how they might use civic youth-serving agencies as an outreach ministry within their community.
The Church has chosen to use four youth agency programs:
Nurturing children, teens, and families through outreach and evangelism and incorporating them into the life of the church may have tremendous, eternal results for the youth, their family and the Church.
- Boy Scouts of America
- Girl Scouts of the USA
- Big Brothers Big Sisters (Amachi Partnership)
- Camp Fire
These agencies offer a unique opportunity to minister to young people. The four were chosen because of their opportunity to share Christian teachings, long-standing connection with local congregations and their recognition of the P.R.A.Y. program.
We, the Church, are endowed with certain responsibilities that allow scouting and civic youth serving programs to become a ministry. This is what differentiates us from a civic or community-based club. Our approach in executing the programs always keeps Christ and youth growth in mind.
Note: While the term “scouting ministries” is used extensively to refer to all civic youth-serving agency programs, it is important to note that each of these agency programs offers distinct and unique program and organizational features.
Ten Reasons to Consider Scouting and Civic Youth-Serving Agencies as a Ministry of the Local Church
- Outreach: The ministry of Christ revolved around the profound concept of reaching out to others.
- Evangelism: Statistics indicate that of all the youth who join scouting through the church, 25 percent are United Methodists, 25 percent are members of other denominations or faiths and 50 percent come from unchurched families. Therefore, Scouting is one potential entry point for persons to join the church, which then has the opportunity to introduce, nurture and strengthen a relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Intergenerational: Scouting and civic youth ministry offers opportunities for older adults as well as youth to participate.
- Coeducational: Some scouting programs exist for both girls and boys.
- United Methodist Men (UMM): UMM have a historical commitment to scouting and civic youth ministry.
- Mission: Many mission opportunities are made available through the five youth agencies.
- PRAY Awards (formerly God and Country Program): The God and Country Series is an age-appropriate study series that focuses on discipleship, family, and service.
- Develop Servant Leaders: Each youth organization had inherent “building blocks” that the local church can transform into effective ministry.
- Intentionality: The scouting program can be an effective, intentional outreach ministry of the local church.
- Make Disciples
Considering one or a combination of the previous reasons, a local church may develop a consistent list of prospects. Nurturing children, teens, and families through outreach and evangelism and incorporating them into the life of the church may have tremendous, eternal results for the youth, their family and the church.