By Joel Comiskey
Excerpts from Youth in Cell Ministry
Young people often feel the inner urge to form cells with their own peers. Adults should encourage these groups and even offer assistance. One of the weaknesses of IG cells is the lack of youth participation, and this partly stems from adults not being proactive enough to include the youth in the life of the cell. Adults, like mother eagles, can help in the process by allowing the youth to launch their own cell groups. Sometimes, in fact, it’s best for youth to be nudged out of the nest, so they can fly on their own and learn with their own peers.
Daphne Kirk, an expert in intergenerational ministry, encourages IG groups to nurture youth-led cell groups that are planted from the IG group. She writes, “The intergenerational cell can be pro-actively involved with the youth cell through prayer and support.” Kirk encourages freedom for youth to stay in the IG group, while not discouraging the formation of youth cells. When youth cells are formed, it’s important to link them with the mother IG group. Adults in the IG group can play a major role in praying for the youth, hosting the group, and mentoring youth leadership.
Ralph Neighbour says something similar, “The youth cell leaders get their modeling and receive both spiritual and practical support from their intergenerational cells.” Both Daphne and Neighbour believe there is an important place for both youth-led cells and IG groups and that one should not exclude the other.
All adults at one time were youth and know that maturity is a lifetime process. Youth eventually will need to fight their own battles and grow spiritually on their own. Youth cells are a great way for them to exercise their gifts and talents in the presence of their contemporaries. Yet, it’s very hard to do this without the support of parents and other adults. For example, adults must open their homes, drive youth to the cell, and encourage the youth to make the time to attend the youth cells.
The youth at Dove Fellowship (founded by Larry Kreider) attended the intergenerational cells until God birthed in them the desire to start their own youth cells. The adults helped in the process of youth cell formation, and the process was very organic and natural.
Dove wanted to make sure the parents were involved in the decision-making process, so they gave complete liberty for parents to either keep their teens in their IG group or to allow them to participate in the youth cells.
The label called “youth” only lasts for a short time and in a blink of an eye youth become adults. They are the “generation next,” the adults of the tomorrow, the ones who will eventually lead the church. Knowing this, many churches develop the youth to lead their own cell groups, to make disciples who make other disciples.