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Kids in Church

  Youth Ministries  

  The Four Circles  

Girl Holding BIble

The Four Circles 

It is recommended that GOYA/JOY Ministries integrate the following elements into all aspects of their
programming: worship, fellowship, service, and witness. An exceptional program will see these elements not
only as four separate entities, but as four interlocking circles that overlap and build on each other.

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”
Psalm 95:6-7

As Orthodox Christians, we believe that God reveals Himself through Holy Tradition and Scripture. Worship is the living expression of these, and is therefore a very important element in ministering to young people. It is necessary for them to be active participants in the liturgical life of the church.

They experience WORSHIP by:

  • Actively participating in private and corporate prayer.

  • Actively participating in the Divine Services and Sacraments of the Church (not only Liturgy, but the entire cycle of worship).

  • Becoming familiar with different services of the Church and their role in the service (Paraklesis, Vespers, Compline, etc.).

  • Praying for those who are sick or in need.

  • Becoming familiar with prayers for morning, evening and different occasions especially the book of Psalms.

  • Observing the Church calendar and prescribed Feasts and Fasts.

  • Learning the hymns of the Church and using them in prayer.

  • Offering readings, chanting or participating in the choir.

  • Serving as an Acolyte (Altar Boy).

  • Reading the Bible and other religious writings.

“Behold how good and pleasing it is when brothers dwell in unity.”
Psalm 133:1

Fellowship is the way Orthodox Christians integrate their faith with daily life. It is sacred when Orthodox Christians gather together in the Lord’s name. The relationship of the Holy Trinity is the perfect model of Fellowship—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share perfect communion and exist in perfect love with each other. By gathering together in fellowship and experiencing this love, we emulate the relationship of the Trinity and develop our life in Christ.

They experience FELLOWSHIP by:

  • Participating in Church sponsored camps and retreat programs. 

  • Participating in Church sponsored athletic programs, ethnic dancing, etc.

  • Participating in Inter-Orthodox activities.

  • Watching films, videos, and multimedia presentations that can spark discussion.

  • Watching performances of religious productions, musicals, etc.

  • Participating in day or overnight outings together.

  • Volunteering either at the parish or in the local community.

  • Participating in group activities on various topics, books, movies, music, etc.

  • Attending church, Ministry gatherings, and other church related activities.


“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve …”
Mark 10:45

Christ came to serve, not to be served. Young people are urged to do the same. They can honor and glorify God by loving and serving humanity in His name. Young people can use their God-given gifts to serve. For Orthodox Christians, service to God and community is a way of life; the way of living one’s Faith. As Jesus Christ said, “Let your light so shine for men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Service is an integral part of the Orthodox Christian’s life.

Too often, we look at our young people and wonder how we can help them. We need to inspire them toward a life of service. How can our children use their God-given gifts for service to the needy and service to those less fortunate? How can they be the people of God who respond to His call in Matthew 25:31-46, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison? Responding to these human needs is the true meaning of service.

They experience SERVICE by:

  • Offering their personal stewardship—giving of time, talent, and treasure—to both the church and local community charities. 

  • Participating in work projects to beautify and maintain the parish or local community.

  • Outreaching to the elderly, the sick, the shut-ins, etc.

  • Supporting and participating in missions abroad and at home.

  • Supporting Archdiocesan, Metropolitan, and Parish ministries such as Saint Basil Academy,Philoptochos, Hellenic College/Holy Cross, St. Michael’s Home, etc.

  • Supporting Inter-Orthodox organizations endorsed by SCOBA the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas: International Orthodox Christian Charities(IOCC), Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), Orthodox Christian Fellowship(OCF), Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting (EOCS), Orthodox Christian Networks(OCN), etc.

  • Volunteering for a local soup kitchen or other community charities.

  • Working with younger ministry groups in the parish or children in the local community.


“For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.”
Acts 22:15

Man is both a spiritual and physical being. Unfortunately this spiritual reality is not always expressed in the material world. In order to be true to oneself and to the Orthodox Christian Faith, young people should strive to exemplify the teachings of the Church. We are witnessing our faith when we are living as Christ taught us to live, letting Christ shine in all that we do to those around us. This is the true meaning of witness.

They experience WITNESS by:

  • Learning about Christ’s teachings and living them. 

  • Learning about the Saints’ great witness to the faith and imitating their example.

  • Finding answers to questions they, or others, have about the faith.

  • Making newcomers feel welcome.

  • Inviting a non-Orthodox friend to a Church service or event.

  • Making the sign of the Cross before every meal—no matter where they are.

  • Supporting and participating in mission work abroad and locally.

  • Teaching children younger than them about the faith.

  • Maintaining Christian integrity in all areas of their lives.

  • Letting Christ’s love shine in all they do.


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