Youth Ministries are often the pillar of any Christian church’s continuity. If you can’t set teenage hearts on fire with love of God, the Christian population will dwindle. This being a difficult time in most teenagers’ lives, it is more important than ever to get a good youth ministry program started, and here’s how.
- Find a good meeting location. Many churches already have a great hall for their youth group, but if not find some location where everyone will feel comfortable. A large room, a park in good weather, or the beach in the summer are great places for teenagers to connect.
- Get the word out. Word of mouth works great, so encourage frequent members to talk to their friends about the youth group. Post a notice at your church on Sundays.
- Break the ice. For a lot of these kids, the youth group will evolve into their greatest friends base, and that’s a wonderful thing- if you can get it to happen. Play some get-to-know-you games, encourage group discussion and mingling. Get the teens out of their pre-set cliques.
- Let the youth lead. The youth know what the youth want. Often, it’s best to pick 11th or 12th graders to form a “core” or “leadership” team to plan events and the like. At this age, they’ll have developed maturity, planning skills, and hopefully a sincere love of God.
- Sing praise to the Lord. Youth love music, and if you can find the right kind of music, even the quiet type will open up eventually. Set a mood, and use song as prayer. Those who aren’t willing to sing under most circumstances tend to find themselves singing with joy when the Holy Spirit acts through them.
- If you’re a youth, push to effect these changes. Many youth groups are stagnant because the youth just don’t care. Love of God is contagious, so let yours show for the benefit of those around you.
- Sign up for or plan your own retreats. Away from the hustle of routine life, retreats can truly cause amazing spiritual conversions, and encourage youth to attend the regular meetings as well.
- Pray for the youth of Christianity daily. There is perhaps no more important thing to do for your youth ministry than this.
- Bible study isn’t a lot of teenagers’ cup of tea, but if you can approach it right, you’ll have your youth group enjoying themselves while learning the Word of God. Maybe pick a familiar coffee shop where the teenagers will feel comfortable for the purpose.
- Learn from Mormons. Ask Mormon friends how their youth get so interested in their faith (ask about “seminary” in particular). The fact that they can get teenagers to church at 5AM every morning is truly amazing, and their knowledge of scripture is always respectable.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about God and religion, even if that’s not what a lot of the teenagers really want to talk about. Take the issue head-on, pray, sing, set a mood where the teenagers will be prodded toward falling in love with God.
- Encourage the friend base to grow. Friends made at church are generally friends who will not lead you astray.
- Understand what youngsters like so that you can plan your Bible study in the same line.
- Have fun, but remember why you’re there. Youth Groups are designed to bring God’s teenagers closer to Him. Social time is excellent, and necessary, but don’t overdo it to the point where the meetings may as well have taken place at the mall down the street.
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Do you need help training your youth leaders? Do you want an expert who can speak to the parents of your teenagers? Mark Matlock and Mark Oestreicher are experts in parenting and youth ministry. For additional information email or call Tim Grable at 615 283 0039.