Youth ministry has changed a few times over the years. Wherever you're at in this amazing, challenging and fun ministry there are a few things we can do to help solidify the youth department. Take a look below at some helps that can improve the overall performance of your youth ministry.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of youth ministry is the need to be clear on the purpose and direction of this ministry. Often times we simply have “church” or we have “youth service”. What doesn’t happen is having a clear direction as to where you as the leader are taking this ministry for long standing success. These plans don’t need to be complex, they can be a simple idea or goal. What you do as a ministry is to help facilitate that goal. Maybe your goal is to go on a missions trip next year or perhaps you want to grow by ten teens at summers end. Whatever the goal is, having it known and shared not only helps build anticipation but it created accountability as well. Once you and your leadership come up with a goal share it with your students. Don’t just keep it to yourself. Get with your Pastor and go over the outline of what the future of the youth ministry is.
The trends of youth ministry are changing. Back in the 80’s & 90’s, even 10 years ago it was the cool thing to be a part of a youth group. Today that desire to be a part of a religious movement is fading away in the young people. The days of preaching to them every week and having mini “church services” are no longer cutting it anymore. What is however is actually the way the bible intended it to be, it’s relationships. Something that will impact your youth ministry immediately is making your ministry “relationship” centered as opposed to “preaching” centered. This might sound contradictory, but, young people have a very quick on and off switch. If you as a leader haven’t invested in some one on one time with them they aren’t going to be inclined to listen to your preaching. Find ways to make building relationships the main focus of your youth group. You can do this with group activities, Youth life groups, quarterly BIG events. Use these as opportunities to get to know your students on a deeper level. Invest some quality time with them. Then, when the time has come to impart the word into their heart they trust the source and are willing to get ministered to. Ask yourself, “How can I build community in my youth group?”
Something that is true is this, “If you grow by members, you’ve grown by addition. If you grow by leadership you’ve grown by multiplication.” Youth ministry needs Youth Leaders but it also needs one or two additional “helps” or “interns” to help push through the vision of the youth leadership. To take this a step further, you need people on your team who are just as passionate about the direction and vision as you are. AND, they need to be committed to the cause. As the leader you have some creditability, throw in the youth’s peers saying the same things you are you just multiplied your credibility with the group. If one person is saying, “We’re doing this…” you get only so much. You get 3 or 4 saying, “We’re doing this…” now you’ve just created a movement. Find one or two additional young people you can put in help roles that will be committed to the vision. These are the ones you need to spend the most time with. The more you spend with them the more buy in you get. You can’t put a price tag on that kind of support.