by Brian Ford of the Christian Retreat Center in East Waterford, PA.
After 10+ years in youth ministry serving in churches, this past September I made a slight shift. I now serve in camp ministry as a Program Director for short-term missions. Basically I’m responsible for planning and administrating a work camp for youth groups. But when I started I had a question that came to mind, how can I implement the Deep & Wide philosophy in our Teens in Missionary Service program? It didn’t take long for me to realize what my problem was, you see, I forgot that Deep & Wide is NOT a gimmick or just the latest program. No…it’s biblical. It’s not complex. And it works in any ministry.
To understand what Deep & Wide Youth Ministry means let’s take a look at its definition taken from the D&W Thesis Greg Stier wrote.
Deep & Wide Youth Ministry prayerfully pushes teenagers deeper into their relationship with God (a.k.a. “discipleship”), while also gently pushing them wider into the world with the gospel (a.k.a. “evangelism”).
Aside from Matthew 28:19-20 being given and quoted as the basis for D&W, the scriptures are filled with examples of people growing deep in their faith and then passionately sharing it with others. As a matter of fact Deep & Wide as been implemented long before it was written down in thesis format.
The woman at the well was exposed to the gospel and was compelled to tell everyone in her community. The people of the early church (Acts) grew in number because they grew deep in their relationship with Christ and was compelled to tell others. And when Paul met Jesus he devoted his life to deepening his relationship with Christ and telling everyone the good news.
Right away we began to apply the biblical principles of building a Deep & Wide Ministry at The Christian Retreat Center for our Teens in Missionary Service Program. Our focus is on helping students that take part in our summer missions program to leave camp growing deeper in their faith and passionate about going into their schools and community with the gospel. We’ve chosen a simple approach to ministry.
And the program aspect of my job is just the scaffolding. Implementing Deep & Wide Youth Ministry is the building block to the ultimate structure…furthering the Kingdom of Heaven. Deep & Wide works, and it works in any ministry because bottom line it biblical.
Program Director and Camp Youth Pastor
The Christian Retreat Center