Here are 16 ideas to help make this your best year of youth ministry ever! (In no particular order)
#1 Get A Coach
- If you want something you’ve never had this year, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done before! Invest in yourself & take your leadership & youth ministry to the next level by getting an expert coach in your corner. Youth Ministry University launches in March by youth ministry coach Kevin Moore. From my time being coached by Kevin, I would highly recommend registering ASAP!
#2 Harness the Arts
- God created music. Teens love music. So create a worship culture & get your students involved using their musical gifts on your worship team! Here’s how: School of the Rock: 5 Keys to Building Great Youth Worship Teams
#3 Cast Vision for Campus Clubs
- One of the greatest rewards in youth ministry comes when your students rise up to reach their peers on their own turf through launching & leading campus ministry clubs! Here’s how: Campus Awakening: 7 Keys to Mobilize Your Students to Launch Dynamic Christian Clubs
#4 Grow Big by Growing Small
- Youth ministry is all about relationships! Empower your leaders & build deeper relationships between your students by integrating small groups into your ministry! Here’s how: 4 Payoffs for Building Prolific Small Groups
#5 Don’t Take the Summer Off
- Summer is not a time to hit the snooze button, it’s a time to see your ministry surge as you equip & reach new students like never before! Here’s how: LAUNCHING INTO SUMMER: 3 Reasons To Launch A Youth Summer Internship & 3 Steps How!
#6 Deputize Your Leaders
- To reach the hundreds & thousands of students in your city you are going to need a large & diverse leadership team to serve alongside of you! Recruit them, honor them, equip them & empower them! Here’s how (With sarcasm): 4 Ways To Shrink Your Volunteer Leadership Team
#7 Impress Parents
- “If you are not ministering well to parents, you are not ministering well to teenagers.” – Kevin Moore. Start by making sure your youth gathering is a safe place for teens & then continue by communicating with parents weekly via email to update them on calendar events & sharing resources. Here’s more ideas: Youth Pastor Tips – Working with Parents
#8 Feed Your Guests Cookies
- Give your best effort to make your first time guests feel like a million bucks! Have your door greeters warmly welcome them as they enter. Honor them from the stage & have everyone cheer for them. Create an environment to meet them personally & give them a gift. We feed our guests fresh-baked cookies & raffle a gift card for one of them to win. Here’s how: Youth Ministry Essentials: 4 step visitor follow-up strategy
#9 Party With Old People
- At least twice a year we take our students to minister to the elderly of our community in assisted living homes. I’m always amazed to see how some of our shyest students shine the brightest during these outreaches! Just sing a few carols or hymns, pass out handwritten cards & then equip your students to sit & visit with the elderly. It’s a simple way to teach your students what it means to give.
#10 Build a Bridge with Your Kids Pastor
- Bring unity & alignment between the kids & youth ministries by dreaming & planning with your kids pastor on how to effectively begin building relationships with your new incoming middle schoolers & their parents. Ideas may include picking a promotion date & having an open house night during your youth gathering for new middle schoolers & their parents to come & meet the youth staff.
#11 Don’t Go with the Flow
- Don’t get stuck in the rut of predictability. It’s a new year & probably time to try something new during your weekly gathering! Keep things fresh & your students engaged by taking your flow-chart or service order & changing up the sequence.
#12 Take a Day Off
- Work hard, but also rest hard! If you desire to make it for the long haul & have the greatest impact possible on your students, then you better actually take a full day off to rest, hear from God & have fun. There may even be times that you need to let your students, leaders & fellow staff members know of your boundaries!
#13 Enjoy a Spring Staycation
- Yes some students & their families will travel for spring break, but many of them don’t! Therefore, enjoy a spring staycation by planning a fun & affordable activity or event to enjoy with your students each day of spring break week! Meet for lunch, go to the movies, etc. This is a great way to make connections with new students!
#14 Send Snail Mail
- In this age of texting & high-speed internet, students rarely receive any snail mail. So order some bulk postcards with your youth ministry logo & info on them & write hand written postcards to your new guests each week thanking them for coming. Also write them to your core students & leaders telling them how awesome they are as often as you can. It’s crazy how something so simple & small can do something so big!
#15 Get New Eye Balls
- We all develop blind spots over time. Therefore, humble yourself & invite in a trusted pastor or leader who is familiar with youth ministry to watch your weekly youth gathering from start to finish & give you constructive criticism on anything & everything! From games, to transitions, to your message, to how you welcome guests, etc. Taking this kind of inventory will only serve to strengthen you!
#16 Give Your Pastor Kudos
- Randomly stop by your Pastor’s office & thank him for believing in you & for allowing you to be part his team. Find time to honor him in front of your leaders & students & thank him for his heart to reach the next generation! This will bless him & bless you.