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5 Jan 2024

Shifting Focus in Youth Ministry: Prioritizing Discipleship Over Spectacle

By |2024-01-15T11:13:16-08:00January 5th, 2024|Leadership|3 Comments

In the world of youth ministry, we often find ourselves balancing between what seems spectacular on the surface and what truly fosters long-term spiritual growth in our students. It’s a delicate dance—one that involves reevaluating our strategies, being willing to shift gears, and prioritizing substance over spectacle.

Recently, we made a decision that might seem counterintuitive to some. We chose to cancel one of our biggest events, an event that seemed impressive, drew large crowds, and generated significant buzz. Yet, upon closer examination, we realized that the expected fruit, the lasting impact we envisioned, wasn’t materializing as we hoped.

Why did we choose to take this step? The answer lies in our deep commitment to discipleship.

As leaders in youth ministry, our ultimate goal is to nurture and equip young hearts to become lifelong disciples of Christ. While flashy events may draw attention, our core mission is to instill a genuine, lasting faith in our students—one that extends beyond momentary excitement and into a lifelong journey with Jesus.

Our decision to cancel the event isn’t a step backward; it’s a leap forward in our approach to discipleship. We’re making a deliberate shift toward a more intentional and impactful strategy: focusing on making disciples who make disciples.

Enter “Catalyst groups.” This 10-week strategy isn’t about grandiosity or outward showmanship. Instead, it’s about the heart transformation and equipping students to actively engage in the Great Commission—to go and make disciples of their peers.

The essence of these Catalyst groups lies in fostering deep, meaningful relationships among students. It’s about creating spaces where discipleship isn’t a one-time event but a continuous journey. Here, students learn to walk alongside one another, to wrestle with questions, to explore faith, and to ultimately share the love of Christ with their peers.

Our church has already implemented this approach with our core leaders, and we’re extending an invitation to our core students to engage in this curriculum, led by their youth leads. The curriculum is designed to equip them with the skills to ‘go and make disciples’ themselves covering the vision of disciple making, characteristics of a disciple maker, evangelizing, establishing relationships, equipping them how to share, exporting it into our lives and helping them make a plan and empowering them to take it to their friends. 

After completing this training (ideally in groups of 3-8 at each campus), we’ll provide three tangible and achievable next steps to support their efforts in doing just that. Currently, I have two steps finalized and am still refining the third: 1) Serve kids if you’re not already engaged in service. Take on leadership of a younger group and mentor them. 2) Initiate a Bible study before/after school/practice with friends who aren’t involved in church. And 3) To be announced.

These steps aim to empower students to embrace evangelism and discipleship personally, allowing them to take practical steps toward implementation.

While the decision to cancel a significant event may raise eyebrows, we firmly believe that the impact of empowering students to disciple their peers is immeasurable. It’s about equipping them with the tools, resources, and most importantly, the heart to genuinely reach out and share the Gospel within their spheres of influence.

We understand that this shift might not be as visually striking or immediately impressive as a big event. However, the true value lies in the lasting change it can bring about in the lives of our students and their peers.

As we embark on this new journey of prioritizing discipleship, we anticipate challenges. It won’t be a straightforward path, and the results might not be immediately apparent. But we’re willing to embrace this challenge, knowing that the investment in nurturing disciples who actively disciple others is worth far more than a momentary spectacle.

The decision to cancel a major event isn’t a setback—it’s a strategic move toward building a youth ministry centered on the core principles of discipleship. It’s a commitment to investing in the future, nurturing young leaders, and empowering them to impact their generation for Christ.

20 Nov 2023

What to do when no one shows up for youth group?

By |2023-11-20T11:54:40-08:00November 20th, 2023|Leadership|5 Comments


I remember quite vividly the night it happened. We had planned for Youth Ministry to proceed as usual that Sunday evening. Even though it was a holiday and we expected our numbers to be low, we did our best to ensure there would be something for our students to do.

But nobody showed up.

It can definitely feel like the most defeating thing to experience in a new ministry. You make plans all week long, prepare a lesson, organize games, buy snacks, but what do you do when no students show up?

Check Your Communication: Did everyone know there was supposed to be a youth group? Did you ensure that both parents and students were informed? If there are any official communication channels in your church, such as the website or the bulletin, did all that information go out? We should communicate a lot. I know the most frustrated I’ve ever been as a parent is receiving a half sheet of paper from the school about an event in three days that I had no prior knowledge of.

Let’s be better about that in our communication!

Look at Church Patterns Outside of Youth Group: In my church, there are men’s and women’s Bible studies that meet at the same time as our youth group. We all coordinate when we are going to meet and when we are going to take a break. Every year on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we don’t have any midweek Bible study. The main reason for this is because so many people weren’t coming. It was almost a wasteland at church. So instead of making a lot of people feel guilty about not coming to Wednesday night Bible study, we decided it would be better as a church if we didn’t meet.

If you don’t have any students showing up, is it because there are also no adults or kids who would naturally be coming during this time as well?

Pray: Either spend some time praying right then and there with your volunteers or try to get a few parents together to pray for your students sometime in the near future. It’s also a good moment to check your own heart and pray, asking God to show you what you need to learn from this.

Meet with Your Leadership: Definitely not a fun meeting to request, but it’s better to be proactive about letting your leadership or senior pastor know that you didn’t have any students show up. Maybe they know something going on that you aren’t aware of. Maybe they can offer you some tips or ideas. They might even be able to recommend whom to meet with to figure out what to do next. Be open during this meeting. It probably won’t be enjoyable, but it might be a productive time where you try to solve some real problems.

Watch for Opportunities: He walked in about 10 minutes late. The other adult volunteer who had shown up that night and I looked at each other and shrugged. He was new, but he was there. So we went on with the lesson and had youth group. Josh accepted Christ that night. He became a leader in our youth group, led worship, and became someone I could depend on for the next several years.

Sometimes God throws you a curveball. He takes what you thought might be a loss and turns it into a God story. Be faithful. Keep reaching out to students. Watch for what God is doing. You’ve got this. More importantly, God’s got you.

16 Oct 2023

10 Tips For Your First Few Years in Youth Ministry

By |2023-10-16T07:04:15-07:00October 16th, 2023|Leadership|7 Comments

This week, DYM is hosting its amazing “First Few Years” conference!

This particular blog writer is NOT experiencing any FOMO. Not even the slightest bit. Promise. Ok maybe a little.

If you’re like me and couldn’t make it out to California, but are just starting out in ministry, here’s a blog just for you!

I know those early years can be both thrilling and challenging, so let’s dive into some tips and advice that’ll help you navigate this exciting journey.

  1. Stay Authentic: You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it’s worth repeating. Be yourself. Students can spot a fake from a mile away. Don’t try to be the “cool” youth pastor if that’s not who you are. Instead, be real, genuine, and relatable. Authenticity builds trust, and trust is the foundation of effective ministry.
  2. Build Relationships: Ministry is all about people, and that means building deep, meaningful relationships. Take time to get to know your students, their families, and your fellow church staff. The more you invest in relationships, the more impact you’ll have on their lives.
  3. Learn and Adapt: Youth culture is always changing, and you need to stay up-to-date. Engage with the latest trends, music, and technology. Be open to learning from your students and be willing to adapt your approach. The more relevant you are, the more you can connect with and influence young people.
  4. Listen More, Talk Less: We often think we need to have all the answers, but sometimes, the best thing you can do is listen. Be a good listener, and ask open-ended questions. When you truly hear their concerns, joys, and struggles, you can offer guidance that’s more meaningful and relevant.
  5. Set Boundaries: Ministry can be all-consuming, but it’s essential to set boundaries to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Take time for yourself and your family. Burnout won’t help anyone, and it certainly won’t help your students.
  6. Be Flexible: Plans will change. Events will be canceled. Volunteers won’t show up. That’s just part of youth ministry. Learn to roll with the punches and be flexible. A positive attitude in the face of adversity will inspire your students and fellow leaders.
  7. Seek Mentorship: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find a mentor or a more experienced youth pastor who can offer guidance and support. They’ve been through what you’re experiencing and can provide valuable insights.
  8. Pray Continuously: Remember that youth ministry is not a one-person show. Seek God’s guidance through prayer. Pray for your students, their families, and your ministry as a whole. The Holy Spirit is your ultimate guide, counselor, and source of strength.
  9. Celebrate Wins: In youth ministry, small victories matter. Celebrate the little moments of growth, connection, and transformation. These wins will keep you motivated and remind you why you’re in this role in the first place.
  10. Stay Humble: Finally, remember that you’re not perfect, and that’s okay. We all make mistakes, and ministry is a journey of growth. Stay humble, admit when you’re wrong, and learn from your experiences.

Welcome to the incredible world of youth ministry! It’s a place where you can make a lasting impact on young lives and grow in your own faith journey. These early years are a foundation for what’s to come, so embrace the adventure, and remember, you’re not alone on this exciting ride. If you ever need advice, support, or just someone to chat with, the youth ministry community is here for you. Find support on the DYM Facebook Community page or reach out directly!

Together, we’ll make a difference in the lives of our amazing students!

12 Oct 2023

Sandals Church Youth Fall Leader Training

By |2023-10-12T12:58:25-07:00October 12th, 2023|Leadership|0 Comments

When Jesus first met His disciples, He invited them to “Come and see. 1 ” It was a simple invitation: “Let’s spend some time together.” They accepted. The disciples spent four months with Jesus. They watched, listened, and learned from Him. They experienced His first miracle, witnessed Him evangelize in a Samaritan city, challenged a curious pharisee, and so much more. 

Their hearts were stirred.

But afterward, the disciples returned to what they knew: fishing. Jesus seemed content to give them the space to consider all they had shared together. Not long after, Jesus approached them with another invitation, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people. 2” This time, they were ready. They left the comfortable and known and chose to follow Him. Over the next three years these ordinary guys came to believe Jesus was who He claimed to be as they grew in their faith and were equipped for a life greater than they could ever imagine.

Jesus kept His promise. He transformed them into fishers of people. Though they didn’t “feel” it at the time, Jesus knew they were ready to continue where He was about to leave off. They would be disciples who made disciples.

After His death and resurrection, Jesus placed the future of all that He started into the disciples’ hands. Imagine how you would feel in that moment.

 What would be on your mind? In your heart? 

On a mountain in Galilee, Jesus spoke words that launched a revolution that continues to this day: “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 

When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18–20 (NIV)

Because of this moment, you and I are here today. We are Jesus followers because the disciples followed first. Thousands of years have passed, but obedience to this command has continued. Jesus made disciples. His disciples made disciples. Their disciples made disciples, and so on for generations to come.

Now, here we are. Here you are. And in this moment, like all the moments in the past, it’s your turn to decide if you’ll accept Jesus’ invitation to become a fisher of people. In fact, if Jesus were standing in front of you right now and you asked Him: “What should I be doing with my life?” He would look you in the eye, smile and say: “Make disciples.” And get this: When you accept, and most of you have by serving in SCY,  Jesus gives you the absolute promise of His presence. Jesus is with you! And because of that, you can do this.

The question is, will you?

For some it might require a change of mindset going into this season:

MY GROUP IS NOT MY GROUP… IT’S GOD’S 

  • If we have the mindset of “my group” we will not grow. 
  • We want to disciple more kids than ever before and we have to understand that even though I might be leading a group, it’s not my group. We are leading disciples in the ways of Jesus and we don’t possess anything about the groups we lead because they are not ours. 

PACMAN NOT CIRCLES

  • Circle = closed off. “My group”. No room to be let in. 
  • PacMan = Open space for people to come in. There is always room for someone to come in and be a part of the group. 
  • It is a different mindset we all need to adopt within our groups and it begins with leaders first, and then it bleeds into students mindsets as well. 
  • If we begin to think of our group as a circle, we will believe that a new person is an inconvenience to the group because it will “mess up the group dynamics”. This is not what we want on Wednesday nights. 
  • If we look at our groups as pacman, there is always an open space for a new person. Just setting that expectation and tone with your students will help make a new person feel like they are supposed to be there, expected to be there and feel welcomed. 

BUILDING UP AND MULTIPLYING YOUR GROUP = SUCCESS 

  • Discipleship leads to multiplication. 
  • The expectation for every group should be to build up to a certain size and then create a new group so now the group is two pacmans with room to add and grow as more and more students come on Wednesday nights. 
  • Goal = 2 leaders with no more than 12 students on the roster 
  • Once a group hits that size, the goal and expectation is to multiply off and make another group so we can continue to expand.
  • Smaller campuses: We want to begin to work on more options for new students 
    • If you have one high school guys group and a new student doesn’t like it, where do they go? They don’t come back. 
    • Need to work on making lower class man/upperclassmen, or two high school guys groups for more options 

THE NEW STUDENT SHOULD BE THE PRIORITY

  • I know this sounds weird, because we want to disciple students, but when a new student is placed in your group, we need to bend over backwards in order to connect with that student and make sure they experience a group that is worth coming back to. 
  • A student’s first experience in a group on a Wednesday night makes or breaks them on deciding if they want to come back next week. 
  • If we are going to ask our students to invite “their one” we better be investing into the relational capital they have spent to invite them. 

MY GROUP NEEDS TO BECOME “STICKY” 

  • SCY has no problem on reaching new students
    • Could be good to share the whole total of new students from SCY AND how many students your campus has had this year. 
  • We have a “stickiness” problem. 
  • Students put themselves out there by inviting their one, they’ve done their job in the process. A Leader’s job is to create a space that new students want to come back to. Support your students who were bold enough to invite.
  • We are not retaining the ones coming for the first time. 
  • What are ways that you are making your group “sticky”?
    • Could be a good time for your group leaders to talk about practical ways to make this happen.
9 Oct 2023

Encouragement for a Youth Pastor

By |2023-10-09T08:52:21-07:00October 9th, 2023|Leadership|0 Comments

October is a special month in the church calendar designated as Pastor Appreciation Month. This is a time when congregations express their gratitude and love for their pastors, and youth pastors play a vital role in the life of the church. As a youth pastor, you might wonder how to navigate this season with grace and humility. Here are four tips to encourage you during Pastor Appreciation Month:

  1. Embrace the Love and Recognition: It’s easy to underestimate the impact of your work as a youth pastor. However, during Pastor Appreciation Month, it’s essential to accept the love and recognition that your congregation wants to shower upon you. Embrace the kind words, gestures, and gifts with gratitude. Understand that you are making a difference in the lives of the youth you serve, and your congregation recognizes and appreciates your dedication. Even if they don’t recognize you, remember the impact you will have!
  2. Reflect on Your Ministry Journey: Take some time during this special month to reflect on your ministry journey. Consider how far you’ve come, the challenges you’ve overcome, and the growth you’ve experienced. Reflecting on your calling and your passion for youth ministry can rejuvenate your spirit and remind you of the reasons you chose this path in the first place.
  3. Connect with Your Youth Group: Pastor Appreciation Month can also be an opportunity to connect with your youth group on a deeper level. Encourage open and honest conversations about their spiritual journeys, challenges, and aspirations. Spend time in prayer with them and let them know that you appreciate their presence in your life as much as they appreciate yours.
  4. Seek Encouragement and Support: Being a youth pastor can be rewarding and challenging. During this special month, don’t hesitate to seek encouragement and support from your fellow pastors, mentors, or friends within the ministry. Share your joys and struggles with trusted individuals who can offer guidance, prayer, and a listening ear.

Pastor Appreciation Month is a time to remember that your congregation values and cherishes your role as a youth pastor. Or, at least we hope that’s the case! Embrace the love and recognition with humility, reflect on your journey, connect with your youth group, and seek the support you need to continue serving with passion and dedication. Your ministry is making a lasting impact on the lives of teenagers, and you deserve all the appreciation in the world.

Need some added encouragement and fun? Join Doug Fields and Josh Griffin as they unpack their week in youth ministry in real time! Learn from their mistakes and years of experience doing youth ministry. Fun, practical, and interactive!

Click here!

28 Sep 2023

Creating a Website for Your Leaders

By |2023-09-21T08:36:49-07:00September 28th, 2023|Leadership|3 Comments

No matter the size of your church, we all have one thing in common – we want our small group leaders to win in discipling the youth in our churches!

Though there are many things that can get in the way of this, I want to highlight one: distributing valuable content to group leaders.

You can email a link to YouTube videos or podcasts on helping your leaders grow or engage student culture, share a quick blurb to them on Instagram about what God is doing in your ministry, or shoot them a text on what to expect that night. Let’s be honest though – the vast amount of information can become a tad overwhelming if everything was over email (Do your leaders even read those?), text, or social media.

Whether you have five volunteer leaders or have to manage a hundred plus leaders, we can all agree that we don’t want to overwhelm and overload our leaders. Rather, our job is to SIMPLIFY the process for them.

The way we decided to simplify the process for our youth leaders across our 9-campus youth ministry is to build a website that has everything a leader in our youth ministry may need.

Why A Website?

If your church utilizes G Suite (Google Suite) you can (and should) create a website for your leaders to be informed of what’s going on in your ministry. Here are three reasons why:

  1. It’s easy to set up.

Literally. I set it up in one day. Just make sure you’re logged into your Google account and go to https://sites.google.com/new to create a page.

  1. It’s easy to manage.

You can post YouTube videos, upload videos from your phone to encourage your group leaders, share documents from Google Drive, embed podcasts and Vimeo videos – and so much more!

  1. It’s adaptable.

Need a page with training videos? You can do that. Need to post some announcements with graphics? That’s possible, too. Need to have pre-registration for an upcoming event? It’s easily set up through Google Forms and posted to your website. Need a llama for tonight’s petting zoo? Sorry, you’re on your own for that…

Set-up and Managment

You may wonder – how do I do this? What does it take to do this? Glad you asked. Here’s what we’ve learned in setting ours up:

  1. Get G Suite.

https://gsuite.google.com/ – just do it! It’ll be worth it because it already includes so much such as email, sharable drive, webcasting, and so many other features that I have yet to use.

  1. Get a domain.

Honestly, this is what I know the LEAST about and in fact is OPTIONAL. For example, our church as a whole uses the shortlink “move.sc/” to easily move our people to certain things (marriage, men and women events, start a group, camp registration, etc.). We utilized this to easily send our group leaders to a website to access everything they need (see it at move.sc/scyleader). Again, this is optional and I know nothing about it – so have your tech-savvy communications director or website designer help you out. If you skip this step, simply send your leaders a “published link” provided from the G Suite Website application.

  1. Load everything into an organized, shareable folder.

Put everything you want on the website into one well-organized folder and make sure the sharing preferences are set to “anyone with the link can view.” Keeping it organized will help you in the long-run. Ours is organized by year and series (i.e. Website Folder > 2019 > Own It Series). The sharing preference mode makes your leaders able to view but not edit your file or access your drive. They’re still able to print and add it to their own Google Drive (if they want to).

  1. Prepare beforehand.

We currently organize our series into 3 weeks (typically). All content is prepared beforehand so that as we enter INTO the series everything is prepped and ready to go. We make discussion guides for JH and HS, a video with a preview of that week’s topic, a host guide and teaching video (see those at move.sc/youthhost). We clearly date everything (especially file names, i.e. “HS Guide_FOR_Love Your Enemies_8.28.19” which is “Guide Name_Series Name_Topic Name_Date of Teaching”) and have the topic of discussion clearly communicated. 

  1. Keep it up-to-date and with new content.

The most important thing you can do for your leaders is to keep the site up to date on events, teaching materials, and any other dated content. If it’s old, take it down. If it’s not a series you’ve begun, simply use the “Hide From Navigation” in the individual page’s side-panel menu. In fact, make it easy on yourself – find a page format that works for you and stick to it for every series. Simply “Duplicate Page” in the page’s side-panel menu and change the content.

In fact, challenge yourself to put up a new training video once a month (easily done via your phone, uploaded to your drive or YouTube) and utilize Google Forms to receive “graded answers” from your leaders based on the video’s content. This way you know if they may struggle to grasp a concept or perhaps you didn’t communicate the topic well enough (be humble enough to admit this).

  1. Get feedback.

If it’s hard to navigate, your leaders won’t want to use it. Get feedback from them as you’re getting it set up so that it can be an amazing tool for them to discipline their group. Don’t create it to the point that you think it’s awesome – create it to the point that your leaders think it is.

Other Uses

You could always use the website feature for other things, such as:

  • Parent website
  • Camp registration or interest list
  • Website for your youth to visit (dorky videos, memes, encouragement – whatever may gather them or their friends)
  • Personal blog or vlog

There are a ton more features and possibilities that are better left discovered by yourself.

The last thing I’ll say is this: When designing your site, always remember: simplify, simplify, SIMPLIFY. Your leaders will love you for it.

Justin

25 Sep 2023

How to Follow up Volunteer Training

By |2023-09-25T12:49:52-07:00September 25th, 2023|Leadership|1 Comment

We all know that training is a crucial step in equipping our volunteer leaders for effective ministry. It’s a time to share knowledge, build skills, and connect with one another. But what happens after the training? Well, that’s where the magic really starts to happen! Once a great training, like the National Day of Volunteer Youth Ministry Training concludes, what do you do next?

1. Express Gratitude

First and foremost, let’s express our sincere appreciation to our volunteer leaders. Tell them how grateful you are for their commitment and dedication to our youth ministry. A simple “thank you” can go a long way in making them feel valued and recognized for their hard work.

2. Recognize Their Efforts

Take the time to recognize the efforts of our volunteer leaders. Celebrate their successes, both big and small. Whether it’s a successful youth event, a breakthrough moment with a young person, or their unwavering dedication, let them know you see and appreciate their contributions.

3. Provide Feedback

Feedback is a powerful tool for growth. Offer constructive feedback to help them improve their skills and leadership abilities. Highlight what they’re doing well and gently suggest areas where they can grow. Remember, it’s all about helping them become the best leaders they can be.

4. Support Their Growth

Encourage our volunteer leaders to invest in their own growth. Whether it’s attending training sessions, reading relevant books, or seeking mentorship, let them know that their personal development matters to us. Offer resources and opportunities for them to expand their knowledge and skills.

5. Foster a Supportive Community

Our youth ministry teams should feel like a family. Create an environment where our volunteer leaders can connect with one another, share experiences, and offer support. Hosting regular meetings or gatherings can foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie.

6. Empower Them

Empower our volunteer leaders to take ownership of their roles. Encourage them to bring their creativity and ideas to the table. When they feel a sense of ownership and responsibility, they’re more likely to be motivated and engaged.

7. Be a Listening Ear

Sometimes, our volunteer leaders may need someone to talk to. Be that listening ear. Create a safe space where they can share their joys and challenges. Remember that we’re here to support them not only in ministry matters but in their personal lives as well.

8. Pray Together

Lastly, let’s not underestimate the power of prayer. Pray together as a team for the youth ministry, for each other, and for the young people we serve. Prayer not only strengthens our bonds but also reminds us of the greater purpose behind our ministry.

Encouraging our volunteer leaders is not just a nice thing to do; it’s an essential part of nurturing a thriving youth ministry. When our leaders feel appreciated, supported, and empowered, they can, in turn, pour that positivity into the lives of our students.

Let’s continue to inspire one another, share our successes and challenges, and build a community of youth pastors who are passionate about equipping the next generation. Together, we can make an incredible impact.

Need some resources for your leaders? We’ve got you covered!

18 Sep 2023

7 Reasons to Let Students Lead

By |2023-09-18T08:08:02-07:00September 18th, 2023|Leadership|5 Comments

You’ve got adult volunteers. That’s awesome! Train them, and you’ll see great growth in your student ministry! But what about your students? Should they be given extra responsibility and ways to lead and grow? Of course! Here are seven reasons why letting students lead and encouraging them to do so will benefit them and the student ministry as a whole!

  1. Ownership of Faith:When students actively participate in the youth ministry by serving in various capacities, they develop a sense of ownership over their faith. It transforms their faith from something their parents or guardians believe into something they can call their own. By being involved in planning events, leading discussions, or volunteering in leadership, they start to see how their faith is relevant and meaningful in their lives.
  2. Leadership Development:Serving in youth ministry provides an excellent opportunity for leadership development. As students take on responsibilities, they learn valuable communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. These skills are essential for their roles within the ministry and future endeavors, both in their careers and as responsible adults.
  3. Spiritual Growth:Engaging in service within the youth ministry often leads to significant spiritual growth. Students can deepen their understanding of their faith as they study and share it with their peers. They are more likely to ask questions, seek answers, and seek a deeper connection with their spiritual beliefs. This active engagement can help them form a stronger, more resilient faith that can withstand the challenges of adulthood.
  4. Mentorship Opportunities:When students serve in youth ministry, they often work alongside dedicated adult leaders who can serve as mentors. These mentors provide guidance, support, and encouragement, helping students navigate the complexities of adolescence and faith. These relationships can be instrumental in shaping their character and faith journey.
  5. Building Community:Service in youth ministry fosters a strong sense of community among young people. They bond with their peers as they work together on projects and events. These connections can be particularly meaningful, as they share a common faith and purpose. It provides a safe and supportive environment where they can explore their spirituality and share their struggles and triumphs.
  6. Empowerment:Giving students responsibilities within the youth ministry empowers them to make a difference. It sends a powerful message that their opinions and contributions matter. This empowerment boosts their self-esteem and encourages them to take an active role in their faith community and, later on, in society.
  7. Passing on the Torch:When students serve in youth ministry, they become the role models for the younger generation. They set an example of what it means to live out one’s faith. This torch passing ensures the youth ministry’s continuity and growth, as younger students are inspired to follow in their footsteps.

Conclusion

Having students serve in their youth ministry is a win-win situation. It benefits both the students themselves and the broader faith community. It empowers students to take ownership of their faith, develop leadership skills, experience spiritual growth, and build a strong sense of community. It also ensures the future vitality of the youth ministry by creating a cycle of mentorship and inspiration.

Encouraging and supporting students in their service roles within youth ministry is an investment in the next generation of leaders and faithful individuals. It acknowledges that students have a valuable role in the church’s life and that their contributions are essential for its continued growth and relevance in an ever-changing world.

Need some help getting your students leading? We’ve got the tools for you!

7 Jul 2023

We Can’t Change Students

By |2023-07-06T20:51:33-07:00July 7th, 2023|Leadership|25 Comments

One of the hardest things about a job as a youth worker/pastor is watching a student who used to be so involved not be anymore. A student who you have seen God make a complete 180-degree turn in go back to the ways they struggled with before and become more and more distant. What does one do with this? What can we possibly say in times like this? What can we actively do with this to move forward?

I’m going to be honest, I don’t know. It’s hard. I keep coming back to this verse:

How tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God. That power is the same divine power which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead. (Eph 1:19-20)

Something I have learned more this year than in my previous years in youth ministry is that we have the power to change no one.

As much as we want to, we don’t have the power to do this. Here is what I have learned to do when this comes:

Pray– Prayer is simple, but it is not always easy. Patience is the key to prayer. Pray that God begins to soften their heart to be open to talking about what is happening.

Pursue– For students who are not coming like they used to because they know they are doing things that are not right, constantly pursue them. Let them know that you are thinking/praying for them and are there for them. Whether if they text back or not, they will know that you are still thinking about them.

Persist– We don’t know how long it will take, but we need to persist. I have seen this in my own ministry. I have gotten a random text from a student months after them not being around, but because they knew I was thinking about them weekly when things got hard, I would get a text to meet. 

Prepare – If they reach out to you, be prepared for what is coming. Be prepared to listen. Listen well. Most of the time, I don’t say anything because I just want to hear what’s going on. I’m not quick to give advice unless asked. This is the first of many meetings to follow.

God has the power to bring people back to Him. We do not. God can still move in huge ways and we get to be a vessel in bringing students back to Jesus. What an awesome job we have.

– Justin

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