The GOYA is a youth ministry for Orthodox Christian teenagers ages 13 through 18. Teenagers should be in 7th through 12th grades to participate. The goal is to lead our young people into experiencing the Holy Orthodox Faith. By developing a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and becoming active members of the Church, our young people will be equipped with tools necessary to assist them in their journey towards salvation. The GOYA ministry integrates four elements: worship, fellowship, service, and witness.
According to the GOYA Ministry Guidelines, GOYA teenagers 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.
According to the GOYA Ministry Guidelines, GOYA teenagers 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, GOYA Ministry gatherings, and other church related activities.
According to the GOYA Ministry Guidelines, GOYA teenagers 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.
According to the GOYA Ministry Guidelines, GOYA teenagers 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.