Check out the newest episode of the I heart youth ministryPodcast with Nathan Wells, Nikkie Schuster, Robert Ham and special guest Greg Bragg. In this week’s episode we chat about speaking to teenagers and how we can best communicate to the students in our ministry. Watch it now and then subscribe to our Podcast on iTunes!
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.
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
Hey youth workers! Mark your calendars and shout out to all your youth ministry friends because you won’t want to miss out on the brand new heartyouthministry.com ! July 5th is the official launch of a HUGE redesign/reboot of iheartyouthministry. What’s in store for iheartyouthministry? Glad you asked. Check out some of the new features that are coming your way:
-YOUTH MINISTRY HANGOUTS: Are you looking for other youth workers to connect with? Do you have youth ministry questions that you need answered? Are you looking for free youth ministry training? Is there nothing else good on tv? Then YOUTH MINISTRY HANGOUTS are just what the doctor ordered! Every Thursday at 12PM (PST) iheartyouthministry.com will be hosting YOUTH MINISTRY HANGOUTS. You can log in and video chat with Rob and some of his youth ministry buddies live via GOOGLE+ . Or, if you don’t feel like being in the video chat..no worries! Just grab some grub, kick back and view the YOUTH MINISTRY HANGOUT live streaming from iheartyouthministry.com .
-IHYM RESOURCES: IHYM RESOURCES is going to be a page on our site where churches will be able to access, download and use awesome youth ministry creative content for FREE. It includes youth ministry graphics/series/messages/bumper videos/etc. that the youth ministry staff at DAYBREAK CHURCH has done and will be updated with new content every month.
-IHYM LESSON BUILDER: Looking for quality youth ministry small group studies? Is it coming down to the wire and you need a quick youth ministry lesson ASAP? The IHYM lesson builder will be a FREE resource for youth workers to browse & download youth small group curriculum and use it in their ministries! Did we mention that it’s FREE???!!!
So get ready for the new iheartyouthministry.com coming July 5th! And to celebrate, we will be giving away FREE youth ministry resources all day on July 5th! For more information on how you can win free youth ministry resources, stay tuned by “liking” the new iheartyouthministry.com facebook page by clicking here. See you on the 5th!
This morning we launched iheartyouthministry.com’s new facebook page. And we got over 30 new likes in just 2 hours! If you are a youth worker on facebook, go ahead and like our new iheartyouthministry facebook page today!
As I’m writing this post I’ve just finished up a meeting with a couple of Jr. High parents who were concerned about their students falling through the cracks (their students hadn’t really gotten “plugged in” deeply to our youth ministry) in the church.
As I was listening to their concerns, a few thoughts came to me about partnering with parents. Here are some simple things to remember when it comes to caring for the parents of the students in your Youth Ministry:
1) OFFER THE PARENTS IN YOUR MINISTRY HELP & HOPE. Make helping parents a priority! No one is more invested in the well being of the students in your youth group than their parents. Parents want their kids to grow and to get connected. Do your best to be helpful as often as you can. Every week, when parents are picking up their students ask “how is your family doing? or “How can I be praying for you guys this week?”. Be a resource for parents who are having a rough time with their kids. Two words to keep in mind: HELP & HOPE!
2) KEEP THE LINES OF COMMUNICATIONS OPEN & OFTEN. Parents love to be “in the know”. You can never give parents “too much” information. Send out weekly parent emails, send group texts, create a special page on your website just for parents. Do whatever it takes to keep the parents in your ministry informed. Informed parents are happy parents!
3) FIND WAYS TO PARTNER WITH PARENTS. More often then not, parents would love to help you out and be more involved. Maybe you could have some parents come in during the week to help with office work ( I know a lot of youth workers would love that). Create a parent prayer team or a carpool cohort…you get the idea. Find some creative ways to partner with the parents in your ministry but getting them involved. The more involved they are in your youth ministry, the more buy-in they will have.
That’s it. Keep it simple. When it comes to the parents of our students: Offer help & hope, communicate openly and often and find ways to partner with parents!