INNOVATION IN YOUTH MINISTRY
This weekend in IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry) I was teaching on one of my favorite verses in the Bible, John 10:10. The verse reads:
New Living Translation (NLT)
"The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."
At one point during my message I shared a simple concept with my students: “Nothing happens unless you do something!” I was explaining that God has some amazing plans for their lives, exciting and adventurous plans, but they have to step out in faith and DO SOMETHING in order for Jesus to do some amazing stuff in their lives. So here is my youth ministry thought/question for the day:
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU TRIED SOMETHING, EVEN IF YOU WEREN’T GUARANTEED THAT IT WOULD WORK?
Here are some quick thoughts about innovation in youth ministry:
1) MAKE AT LEAST ONE MISTAKE EVERY DAY…JUST NOT THE SAME ONE! Try, try and try some more. Keep trying new ideas/concepts/strategies/programs, etc. until you find something that works. When I first started working in full time youth ministry I must have tried about 6 different ways to effectively disciple teenagers before I found the method that worked best in the setting where I was at!
2) REMEMBER: LITTLE RISK, LITTLE REWARD. BIG RISK, BIG REWARD! Keep in mind that we serve a BIG God! Nothing is too complicated for Him. Don’t you think that the God who spoke the cosmos into existence can bring the right set of volunteers into your ministry? Of course He can! Take some risks this month in your youth ministry setting. Don’t be afraid to dream big, because the size of our God should determine the size of our dreams!
3) UNDER-PROMISE, OVER-DELIVER! When Jesus gives you a God-sized vision, you don’t necessarily have to share that entire vision with everybody right away. Begin to practicing under-promising and over-delivering and watch the momentum that will start to develop in your youth ministry!
What about you? What are some innovative ideas that you have tried in your youth ministry setting (even if they ended up failing completely!) Share your ideas in the comments section below. I’m very interested to hear some of your ideas.
At the moment I am prepping for our new summer mid-week here at IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry) and a few youth ministry related ideas are bouncing around in my head. Here they are in no particular order!
-YOUTH MINISTRY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT. We are going to be playing around with this idea beginning this week. We have opened up an INSTAGRAM account for our youth ministry and we are going to begin taking photos and letting our students submit photos as well.
-STICKY FAITH WITH VOLUNTEERS. This summer our volunteers are going to be studying through my friend Kara Powell’s book “Sticky Faith: Developing Faith That Lasts In Teenagers”. We will be reading a chapter every week and discussing it together to find ways to create a multi generational model of youth ministry at our church.
-NEW STRATEGIES TO STOP STUDENTS FROM SLIPPING THROUGH THE CRACKS. We are going to be implementing some new assimilation techniques this summer to make sure that every student in our ministry is known by name by a caring adult in our ministry. This summer will be the summer of relational youth ministry.
-SYMT TOOLS. This summer we are going to really dig deep and learn as much as we can about utilizing our SYM Tools software. Check it out today! It’s the best out there.
One of my favorite parts of working in youth ministry is seeing students step up to the plate and begin to serve. I love watching jr. high and high school students discover their gifts and then use them to serve the church in a variety of different ways. At IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry) one of our core values is having students lead the ministry. We really value having student-led ministry teams, and a great set of student leaders.
On a typical weekend service, we have students on stage giving announcements, running the tech booth, greeting at the doors, leading worship and more! It is so cool to see, and the best part is, when students LEAD…they don’t LEAVE! The truth is that when students begin serving in your youth ministry it creates a real sense of ownership in our teenagers. They stop sitting and soaking and start leading and learning.
So how do you shift from a environment where the staff & volunteers run everything (where students are spectators) to an environment where your teenagers help lead (where students are servants)?
START SMALL AND TRUST BIG! First things first. You need to start small. Begin by having some of your students serve in little ways. Ask a couple of students to help set up chairs before your service begins. Have a few students pass out pens and outlines as other students arrive. Maybe you could call up a student in the middle of the week and ask him/her to go pick up supplies with you for your youth ministries’ mid-week or weekend program. You don’t have to create a complicated student leadership strategy right away. Just start small and trust that God will start to develop a servant’s heart in your students lives.
DREAM BIG AND PLAN SMALL. We all want our students to grow and to take that “next step” towards spiritual maturity. One of the most effective ways for students to grow spiritually is to begin to serve in ministry. Take some time to dream big and ask God what His vision is for your youth ministry. Then ask the question, “how can our students help us achieve the goal/dream that God has given us?” Start to create a strategy to develop your students into servant leaders. Once you have your strategy mapped out, take it one step at a time! Don’t try and do something in 2 weeks that will probably take 2 years. While it might be ideal to have students running a ton of elements in your programs, don’t rush the process. Again, start small and realize that the character quality of servanthood doesn’t develop overnight!
Series: “Welcome To The Middle”
Title: 6th Grade Weekend
Sermon In A Sentence: Now that you know all about our jr. high ministry, you need to ask yourself “where can I PLUG into the PLAN?”
MESSAGE SUMMARY: This past weekend at IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry) was our promotion Sunday where we received all of our brand new 6th graders. We had a ton of fun with this weekend service. We played with the concept that “all the best stuff happens in the middle” (i.e. Oreo cookies, stuffed crust pizza, etc.) to get our new students excited about entering middle school. In terms of the message, I basically walked our students through our summer calendar while highlighting which programs they needed to come to that would correspond to one of the purposes of our ministry (worship, discipleship, evangelism, ministry, fellowship).
Jesus Precious Jesus
Jesus Precious Jesus
Our mascot “6th Grade Beaver Buddy” was a huge hit this morning at our promotion Sunday service.
Jr. High Ministry=CRAZY FUN!
Last week I posted an idea we are trying this weekend at IGNITION called the “6th Grade Classy Tour”. Here’s a free graphic that you can use if you want to try the same concept in your student ministry!
For most youth workers, promotion weekend is upon us (or has just passed) where brand new 6th graders & brand new 9th graders join our youth ministries. At IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry), this upcoming weekend is our PROMOTION SUNDAY for incoming 6th graders. Here is a copy of the email that I just sent out to our youth leaders regarding their roles this weekend. Hopefully this content will be useful to you in your youth ministry setting!
EMAIL I SENT:
So here are the 3 big things to be thinking about as we approach Sunday morning:
1) THIS WEEKEND IS ALL ABOUT THE NEW 6TH GRADERS! This weekend I want you hanging out with 6th graders. Your priority is to find a new 6th grader/graders and stick with them the entire service. If you are a guy, make a beeline for new 6th grade guys. If you are a girl, make a beeline for new 6th grade girls. Go out of your way to get to know all about them. There will be special seating this Sunday roped off just for our 6th graders. SIT WITH STUDENTS DURING THE SERVICE. No one should be standing/sitting anywhere else during program Sunday morning except for sitting with 6th grade students. (the only exception is for those who are running tech in the back).
2) THIS WEEKEND IS ALL ABOUT BUILDING NEW RELATIONSHIPS. Get to know students this weekend. When you meet a new kid, grab some coke’s (found in a bucket by the tech booth) and sit at connection central or the couches with students. Ask them about their hobbies, likes, dislikes, favorite movies, favorite foods, bands, etc. Our goal at IGNITION is that every student is known by name by one of our leaders.
3) MODEL AUTHENTIC WORSHIP AND FUN FOR THE NEW 6TH GRADERS. When worship is going on this Sunday, sing with all your might! When a joke comes from the stage, laugh even if it’s not that funny! When the message is being taught, model to your students by taking notes yourself and following along. If you see students acting up, let them know (nicely) to pay attention. They will look up to you as models of what they should/shouldn’t be doing. This weekend will be as fun for them as you make it! :D
Check out this AWESOME promo video my buddy Ryer Flaker made for our jr. high and high school youth ministry at Daybreak Church. Super cool. I love the very apparent difference between jr. high and high school students as displayed in this video. Thanks Ryer!
This weekend our Jr. High ministry finished up our 4-week series on friendships/relationships/sex at Daybreak Church. It was…awkward…and awesome! lol.