When I think about youth ministry and what it takes to start one I only have 2 different experiences to pull from. The first one was when I was a co-small group leader for jr high girls in a HUGE and pre-existing ministry. The other was when I helped start a youth program from the bottom up a little over a year ago.
When I was approached with the possibility of being apart of the startup team I was super excited. I prayed and prayed and then prayed some more FIRST before I accepted the “job”. After that it was kind of a whirlwind. I remember feeling so intimidated the first few planning meetings but after hearing the heart of our leader and the vision that God had placed on his heart it helped eased some of the questions.
Obviously there is no formula to follow to build a successful youth ministry since each church and person is so different BUT here are some practical things I can share about what we did:
1) Set God-sized goals
Dream about where you want your ministry to be in the next 3, 6, 9, 12 months and set some dream goals. Pray over them, work towards them and see what God does!
2) Don’t do it alone!
Approach people to be responsible over a certain task (ie: connecting with students, weekend program, worship, follow-up, facebook duty etc). When each person has a role, they are focused on the task and is able to do that task well.
3) Meet regularly to pray and plan
Choose a day to meet and plan your weekend program. Open it up to your volunteers and possibly your student leaders too so they can take ownership of the ministry.
4) Make your presence known!
There are a few reasons for why this is important. The first is to create an excitement about your ministry - to meet as many students and parents as possible and to get the momentum going. The second is to build connection and good foundation between “big” church, the parents, and your youth group. Utilize your resources (ie: announcements or ads in the bulletin) and remember that your program is church for the youth meaning; your program is PART of the church not to be separate from the rest of the church.
5) Have fun!
Does this need an explanation??? :D
This post was written by Nikkie Schuster. Nikkie writes for the IHeartYouthMinistry team and is a part of the weekly YOUTH MINISTRY HANGOUT podcast. Catch her live every Thursday at 12PM (PST). Click here to see the HANGOUT schedule.