Position Paper: Ministry Guidelines
Minimum Age Requirements for Ministry Participants

Definitions

Service Oriented Ministry:

Activities that are focused on serving others, either inside or outside of the church. The following are examples of Service Oriented Ministries:

  • Set-up/Tear-down of Musical Instruments

  • Visiting Convalescent Homes

  • Collecting Communion Cups

  • Fellowship Hall Clean-up

Leadership Oriented Ministry:

Activities that include various forms of leading others and might include some form of adult level interaction among peers. The following are examples of leadership-oriented ministries:

  • Worship Team

  • Sunday School Teaching

  • Congregational Teaching/Preaching

  • Small Group Leadership (e.g., HomeGroup, Men’s Bible Study, Women’s Bible Study)

Requirements

Service Oriented Ministry:

Ministry leaders may seek the participation of any church member (or church member’s child.) Ministry leaders must always consider the maturity and physical capabilities of younger prospective participants. Parental consent is required when it is not implied, for example: parental consent is required before a ministry leader takes a child to a convalescent home, but a HomeGroup leader is free to direct a child in the task of cleaning-up the fellowship hall when it is that HomeGroup’s week to clean-up. Any young person (i.e., person under the age of 18) shall be under the direct supervision of the ministry leader when that young person is participating in the ministry.

Leadership Oriented Ministry:

Ministry leaders may seek the participation of any church member 20-years-old or older. Ministry participants must be members—in good standing—of Tree of Life, believers, and have a spiritual maturity level appropriate for the role.

Exceptions

Understanding that God works in ways that we do not always understand, there are times when exceptions to the minimum age requirement must be considered. When a ministry leader and parents discern unique characteristics that they feel qualify a particular young person to minister at an adult level, they may request eldership consideration for an exception to the minimum age guideline. Due to the leadership nature and potential exposure to spiritual attack, pride, and adult-level peer interaction inherent to these positions, eldership involvement is necessary to discern the appropriateness of appointing any person under the age of 20. Again, due to the nature of these positions, the elders shall be unanimous in their discernment before a person under the age of 20 is appointed to this type of position. No person under the age of 13 will be considered for an exception to the minimum age requirement for ongoing ministry involvement.

Exception Requests

The parents (when applicable), elders, and ministry leader(s) shall work together to discern whether or not an exception to the minimum age requirement is appropriate. When considering a person for an exception to the minimum age requirement, the elders, parents, and ministry leader(s) must consider the following four guidelines carefully:

Spiritual Maturity The ability to manage the exposure to additional spiritual attacks.
The ability to overcome the pressure and temptation of pride.
Gifting in Ministry The ability to adequately perform the functional requirements of the role.
Ministry Discipline Attendance, punctuality, organization, etc.
Social Maturity The ability to interact with adults at an adult level in adult situations.
The maturity to witness adults interacting in adult situations without disorientation or discouragement.

If any one of these guidelines is not met, an exception to the minimum age requirement will not be considered.

Ministry Mentoring

Every exception to the minimum age requirement will be regarded as a mentoring situation (any young person between the ages of 13-20 that is accepted into a ministry). Thus, the ministry leader or designated member of the ministry shall have direct oversight, in a mentoring capacity, of the person for whom the exception was made. The mentoring requirement will have both a practical aspect and spiritual aspect. For example: in the case of a young person serving in the Worship ministry the practical aspect of their mentoring will be the person who interacts with them most directly regarding their musical role on the team. The spiritual aspect of the mentoring will be concerned more with the spiritual issues that come with this ministry. The mentor role for both aspects can be filled by one adult in the ministry or shared. It would be shared if for instance a male adult was mentoring a female young person musically, but the spiritual mentor should be one of the adult women in that ministry.

 

Special Occasion Exceptions

The focus of the above age guidelines is concerning ongoing participation in ministry. We recognize that there should be exceptions made for special occasions to allow the participation of the younger children under the age of 13. This exception allows, for example, Christmas choirs of children, or special performances of songs, skits, etc. The reason we will continue this exception is that these events will always take place under direct adult supervision and are understood to be oriented toward performance. This allows for special periodic performances by either groups of children or an individual child at the discretion of the Worship team leader. However, this exception does not become the basis for ongoing ministry involvement for the children involved until the child in question reaches the age of 13 and seeks a ministry exception role.

 


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