A Thriving Youth Ministry: 3 Keys I learned from Jeanne Mayo


There’s so much inspiration & clarity that can come out of being around someone you admire & respect! That’s exactly what happened to me these past few days as I had the opportunity to spend a few days with Jeanne Mayo at her Youth Leaders Coaching “Cadre.” Jeanne Mayo has not only been one of the leading Youth Pastors in America for the past 30+ years, but she has also trained & equipped 1000’s of youth pastors and definitely knows a great deal about being a passionate & effective youth pastor & leader! Here are my top 3 highlights that I came away with from this week…

  1. Be Passionate! Just being around Jeanne a.k.a “Mom,” made me all the more passionate about this generation and the absolute mandate I have to go after teenagers that need Jesus & inspire my leadership team to do the same!  This generation is so bombarded with worries, troubles, struggles and so many opportunities to be distracted! As Jeanne showed clips from “Saving Private Ryan” and compared it to us going out and saving teenagers on the battlefield, I was brought to tears. I am so thankful that God once again reminded me of the battle at hand and the importance of being “All in” to go after the broken, lost and hurting students that needs Jesus and who need me & my leadership team to love them and guide them to Him relentlessly no matter what the cost! Every life matters and is at stake!
  2. Faith + deeds = success! We pray for our students and then we MUST have relationship with them. Small groups are the key to thriving relationships, discipleship and accountability! Every student in our ministry must be plugged into a small group and have a small group leader “Pastor” in their life that is LOVING them, calling them, encouraging them and holding them accountable. I’m excited to say that we do have small groups within our youth ministry, but Jeanne gave insight & keys on how to make them more effective & I’m excited to share with my leadership team how to accomplish this! Check out her book ”Thriving Youth Groups “ for some secrets in growing your ministry and creating a friendship culture.
  3. Effective Follow-up is a MUST! Jeanne’s strategy for new student follow-up is amazing! It’s 3 weeks of connecting with new students as they get 3 different letters in the mail each week. The 1st week is a hand written letter thanking them for coming. (We include a gift card for our café in the 1st follow up letter). The 2nd week they receive a post card with youth ministry details or an event that maybe coming up. On the 3rd week they receive another letter with the youth ministry logo on one side and a coupon on the other side (Get a few restaurants to sponsor 10% off each time they come.) This is awesome because it encourages them to keep this card in their wallet as they will see it and it will be a good reminder for them to come back! Within 2 days Jeanne also has one of her caring leaders call the new students, thanking them for coming and asking them 2 questions. 1. What did you enjoy about coming to the youth ministry? 2. Was there anything that made you feel uncomfortable or that you didn’t enjoy? She asks this because she has gleaned some important facts and in turn made some necessary changes! – Julie

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