WHAT IS GOYA MINISTRY?
The mission of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is to coordinate the youth and young adult ministries of the national church in collaboration with Metropolis Directors; by providing standardized resources and training, this unified national ministry team enables youth workers, young people, and their families to better understand and fully experience the Orthodox Christian Faith. The Greek Orthodox Youth of America, or GOYA, is a ministry of the Department. The mission of GOYA Ministry is to strengthen the relationship of young Orthodox Christians with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The program works to educate and edify young members of the Church, encouraging them to become active sacramental participants in the life of the Body of Christ. This ministry offers them the opportunity to experience the Faith, ultimately leading them to Salvation.
MINISTRY VS. ORGANIZATION
GOYA is a ministry of the Church. It is not an organization or club, but simply a gathering of the faithful of the Church who share the same grades, ages and common interests. It is a spiritual ministry, based on the theological tenets of the Orthodox Christian Faith.
PARTICIPANTS VS. MEMBERS
Belonging to GOYA Ministry depends solely on being an Orthodox Christian. The teenagers are not classified as members or non-members—if they are members of the Faith, they belong! That is, they are participants rather than members. If non-Orthodox teenagers wish to participate in the ministry, welcome and offer ministry to them. Encourage them to participate in the program and explain to them that the Sacraments are only for baptized and/or chrismated members of the Orthodox Church. There have been many instances of entire families converting to Orthodoxy because of their young person’s involvement in GOYA Ministry.
GUIDELINES VS. CONSTITUTION
Since GOYA is a ministry and not an organization or club, guidelines exist rather than a constitution. The Archdiocese Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries offers these guidelines to inform and direct the faithful as to the ecclesiastical purpose of GOYA Ministry, stressing the four characteristics of worship, fellowship, service, and witness.
WHO IT SERVES
GOYA ministers to teenagers of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in junior high or high school (7th to 12th grades).
SELECTION OF GOYA LEADERS
GOYA is not a popularity club or legal voting body, but rather a ministry of the church. For this reason, it is recommended that the teenagers apply and be appointed for positions of leadership within the committee. The application process should explore why they want to serve, what talents they have to offer, and what areas in which they might need assistance (see Appendix A for a sample application). The talents of all young people interested in leadership roles should be utilized in some way to further the ministry. The parish priest, youth director, and advisors should make the selection and appointment of GOYA Leaders. The recommended tenure of these positions is one year, beginning in September. For the participants not applying for leadership positions, the ministry team should look for opportunities to include them in service to the ministry.