Home/Posts/Youth Ministry Ideas
11 Apr 2024

Free game in Sidekick! – Cereal Killer

By |2024-04-11T09:10:14-07:00April 11th, 2024|Youth Ministry Ideas|0 Comments

Have a cereal night at youth group with this fun, 6-week cereal elimination bracket! Use one poll each of the next 6 weeks to reveal the final top 6 cereals in your youth ministry. Be sure to write down the winner each week so you can input them into the Grand Final week 7 poll … to reveal the best cereal of all time!

You could also easily modify this to play all in the same service or at an event as well!

Sidekick is DYM’s brand-new presentation software! With interactive elements like live voting, name picker, wheels, and weekly free premium content, Sidekick is the future of presenting! Plus it’s cloud-based, so you can build your presentation at home and find it ready to go wherever you log in.

If you’re using Sidekick and you run into any issues, or if you just have a question, please feel free to reach out to our support team at: [email protected]. Or you can check out other helpful articles and walkthroughs at the Sidekick Help Desk by visiting https://help.sidekick.tv.

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

If you’re using Sidekick and you run into any issues, or if you just have a question, please feel free to reach out to our support team at: [email protected]. Or you can check out other helpful articles and walkthroughs at the Sidekick Help Desk by visiting https://help.sidekick.tv.

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

11 Apr 2024

Helping Youth Workers Win This April!

By |2024-04-11T09:05:06-07:00April 11th, 2024|Youth Ministry Ideas, Youth Ministry Resources|0 Comments

AMAZING DEALS ONLY IN APRIL!

Our team at DYM is made up of youth workers! We have hundreds of years of combined experience and a heart that wants to make your life easier and better. Andt that’s not all. We want to save you time so you can do what we can’t do: disciple your studentscare for your parents… and spend time with your volunteers.

We’ve combined some of the best deals we’ve ever had and we’re offering ALL of them to you in the month of April! We’re here to help you win!

Check Out All Of Our April Deals Here

We’ve made the DYM Membership EVEN better.

Gold NOW gets 25 voting connections in Sidekick (previously 5!)

A NEW monthly countdown video added to member downloads (in addition to the normal membership video!)

AND, get 20-50% off in-person events (new this year!)

Check Out The Memberships Here

Super Summer Mega Pack? Yes, please!

$200 worth of epic, time-saving summer resources for only $99!

Plug-and-play games, complete teaching series’, graphics, videos, summer camp resources, themed events, and 2 high-quality summer calendar designs to choose from – it’s all included! You have to see it to believe it!

Check Out the Summer Mega Pack Here

We’re launching Coleader Year 2 in May, Save BIG in April!

Subscribe to Coleader Premium+ (or extend your current Premium+ subscription) during April and get 20% off! That gives you an ENTIRE YEAR of curriculum, games, countdowns, and events for only $320! That’s about $6 per week for a fully complete program.

CHECK OUT COLEADER AND USE CODE: WINNING2024 AT CHECKOUT

Buy the National Day of Volunteer Youth Ministry Training, get YMU for ONLY $99 (that’s a $150 savings)!

If you sign up for the National Day of Volunteer Youth Ministry Training(either to host it or to own it) we’ll give you complete access to 125 video courses on YMUniversity.com for the renewal price of only $99.

Your volunteers can get world-class training on their device of choice 24/7 all year long! Check it out here!

Check out the National Day of Volunteer Youth Ministry Training Here

Become a Platinum Member and get a $100 Starbucks card on us!

Platinum Membership has everything you’ll need for the year (Coleader access, YMUniversity, Events, 50% discounts from the store, etc…).

Join in April and we’ll personally send you a $100 gift card to Starbucks so you can have a relaxing beverage on us throughout the year… we know you need it!

Check out the Platinum Membership Here

Get $50 Off a DYM Southern California Event This Fall!

You’re the leader, you need some rest and training and networking and learning and fun! We have all that waiting for you this fall at our events in Southern California.

We’d love for you to join us for Your First Decade in Youth Ministry Conferenceor DYM100: Roundtable Conversations Conference. We’ve got a $50 discount for you if you sign up this month!

Check out the YOUR FIRST DECADE IN YOUTH MINISTRY CONFERENCE HERE
Check out the DYM100: Roundtable Conversations Conference Here
25 Mar 2024

Empowering Students in Evangelism: The Power of ‘Who Is Your One?’

By |2024-03-25T09:04:17-07:00March 25th, 2024|Youth Ministry Ideas|5 Comments

When it comes to evangelism, many students find the concept overwhelming. The idea of going out and telling all their friends about Jesus can seem daunting. There’s a common misconception that evangelism requires boldness, public speaking, or street preaching. However, there’s a simpler and more effective approach that breaks down this big idea into something more manageable and realistic: “Who Is Your One?”

“What is ‘Who Is Your One’?”

“Who Is Your One” is an initiative we have been doing in our ministry that encourages students to be intentional about reaching out to a friend they already have who doesn’t know Jesus. It’s about nurturing existing relationships, being there for them, praying for them, inviting them to church, and engaging in conversations about faith. The goal is for students to demonstrate their own relationship with Jesus through their friendship, ultimately leading their friend to a deeper understanding of faith.

This approach to evangelism is rooted in Jesus’ own interactions with people. He often spent time with individuals, inviting himself into their lives and showing them love and acceptance, regardless of their background or beliefs. It’s a relational approach that students can relate to and implement in their own lives.

Why “Who Is Your One” Matters:

In our ministry, “Who Is Your One” has been instrumental in driving growth and impact over the last two years. By encouraging students to focus on just one person, we’ve seen a significant increase in effectiveness and engagement.

How We Implemented “Who Is Your One”:

  • Vision Series: At the beginning of the school year, we introduced the concept of “Who Is Your One” through a dedicated vision series. This series laid the foundation for why this initiative is important and challenged our students to take action.
  • Business Cards: We created business cards with the prompt “My one is ________,” allowing students to fill in the name of their chosen person. These cards served as a daily reminder and were also shared with small group leaders for accountability.
  • Leader Training: We provided training for our leaders at the start of the school year to equip them with the tools and understanding to support their students in reaching their “one.”
  • Curriculum Integration: We integrated “Who Is Your One” updates into our curriculum, ensuring that the topic was regularly addressed in small group discussions.
  • Storytelling: We shared stories of success from our campuses, highlighting instances where someone’s “one” had come to church and started a relationship with Jesus. These stories served as inspiration and motivation for students.
  • Celebration: We celebrated students and leaders who embraced the “Who Is Your One” initiative, both privately and publicly. Recognizing their efforts encouraged others to follow suit.
  • Service Integration: We made sure to incorporate “Who Is Your One” into every service, reinforcing its importance and keeping it at the forefront of our ministry culture.

The Impact of “Who Is Your One”:

By empowering students to own and embrace the concept of “Who Is Your One,” we’ve witnessed a transformation in how we approach evangelism. Students are better equipped and motivated to reach out to their friends, knowing that they have the support and encouragement of their community.

The beauty of “Who Is Your One” lies in its simplicity and accessibility. It doesn’t require fancy events or elaborate strategies. It’s about genuine friendship and creating a safe space where students feel comfortable inviting their friends to explore faith together.

“Who Is Your One” is not just a program; it’s a mindset shift that empowers students to be ambassadors of Jesus in their own circles. By focusing on one person at a time, students can make a meaningful impact and share the love of Christ in a tangible and relatable way. Let’s continue to nurture this culture of evangelism and support students as they embark on this journey of faith and friendship.

– Justin

Need help with a resource from DYM? We got you!

Want to get your students moving? Our faith is meant to be one of action. Get your students to understand these 3 key teachings from the life of Christ, all including the challenge to “GO”:

12 Mar 2024

Empowering Group Leaders: Key Strategies for Ministry Success

By |2024-03-12T09:34:28-07:00March 12th, 2024|Youth Ministry Ideas|2 Comments

Group leaders play a pivotal role in the success of any ministry. They are the frontline ambassadors who carry out the vision and strategy, impacting the lives of individuals and families. However, to truly empower these leaders and ensure their effectiveness, it’s essential to provide them with clear guidelines on achieving success.

Here are 4 key elements we lay out for our leaders so they know if they are being successful:

  1. One of the fundamental aspects of effective leadership is facilitating faith conversations. Leaders must be encouraged to steer discussions back to matters of faith, especially in small group settings. By using provided discussion questions and consistently pointing students back to Jesus, leaders can create meaningful opportunities for spiritual growth and reflection.
  2. Follow-up is another critical component of successful leadership. Whether it’s reaching out to new students or responding to prayer requests, effective follow-up demonstrates care and commitment. By implementing best follow-up practices such as making personal contact after meetings, extending personal invitations for future events, and integrating students into group communication channels, leaders can foster a sense of belonging and connection.
  3. Building connections with students’ families is an often overlooked but impactful aspect of ministry. Leaders are encouraged to make intentional efforts to connect with parents or guardians, as they play a crucial role in students’ lives. Whether it’s through simple introductions, sharing positive feedback about their child, or engaging in social media interactions, these gestures contribute to building a supportive community and partnership.
  4. Engaging students beyond weekly gatherings is essential for building deeper relationships and fostering continuous growth. Leaders are encouraged to interact with students both in person and digitally throughout the week. By having faith discussions in various settings and leveraging digital platforms where students are active, leaders can create meaningful connections beyond traditional church gatherings.

Empowering group leaders requires providing them with clear guidelines and strategies for success. By emphasizing the importance of faith conversations, effective follow-up, building connections with families, and engaging students beyond weekly gatherings, leaders can make a significant impact in the lives of individuals and families. As leaders embrace these key strategies, they become catalysts for transformation and growth within the ministry, ultimately fulfilling its vision and strategy.

Need some resources to help empower leaders? DYM has got your back!

10 Feb 2024

SIDEKICK: Choose Your Own Adventure Game

By |2024-02-10T13:35:50-08:00February 10th, 2024|Sidekick Hero Blog, Youth Ministry Ideas|5 Comments

We played an INCREDIBLE game this week at church. It’s the combination of all things Sidekick – it uses ALL of the bells and whistles that make this new presenter great – Live Voting, The Wheel, Pick Me & MORE. It’s so fun … and in a couple weeks, it’ll be FREE in Sidekick. That’s right … FREE.

Pretty soon, we’ll have a button that says, “FREE STUFF,” and in one click, it’ll be yours.

The game was so fun – we pulled up 5 kids on stage and put them on stools to “go for a hike” and then suddenly, they discovered that they were lost in the woods. All sorts of crazy things happen – bees attack, so do bears, snakes show up, even a volcano erupts at one point. One by one, through the fate of the wheel or picker, or the vote of the crowd, the hikers get riddled away one by one until … the final 2 hear a helicopter. They flag it down, and then in a hilarious twist of fate – think of those old Oregon Trail games – everyone dies.

(click image to enlarge)

(click image to enlarge)

Our junior high students loved it – silly fun, easy to run, and definitely next level compared to just a regular screen game. Your students will love it, and it’ll show off the power of Sidekick for interaction, for sure. And … you can’t beat the price tag. And don’t worry, we’ll let you know as soon as it’s available to grab for FREE inside the new Sidekick in a few weeks!

JG

If you’re using Sidekick and you run into any issues, or if you just have a question, please feel free to reach out to our support team at: [email protected]. Or you can check out other helpful articles and walkthroughs at the Sidekick Help Desk by visiting https://help.sidekick.tv.

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

If you’re using Sidekick and you run into any issues, or if you just have a question, please feel free to reach out to our support team at: [email protected]. Or you can check out other helpful articles and walkthroughs at the Sidekick Help Desk by visiting https://help.sidekick.tv.

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

30 Jan 2024

Numbers don’t matter. Until they really do.

By |2024-01-30T06:41:24-08:00January 30th, 2024|Youth Ministry Ideas|2 Comments


When I started in Youth Ministry 16 years ago, I had a really big aversion to counting the number of heads in the room. Some of that involved my senior pastor calling me into his office every Monday morning. When I was just starting out, I envisioned doing devotionals with my pastor. Maybe we would spend time praying for each other and our church congregation.

But that wasn’t ever the reason for the Monday morning meeting. He wanted to know how many students I had on Sunday morning. 

I dreaded that meeting because I didn’t enjoy letting him know how many bodies were in the room.

The amount of students I had didn’t speak to how many of them were reading their Bible throughout the week! Or how many of them had shared Jesus with a friend. Or how many of them were beginning to pray And begin their own spiritual journeys!

But I kept on going to those Monday morning meetings and telling my senior pastor how many kids had showed up. 

Maybe you’ve got a similar aversion to talking about numbers in your youth group. You don’t wanna brag about how many kids are coming or, just as likely, maybe your number of regular students seems pretty low when you compare it to the church down the street or the really active youth group on Instagram.

I would agree with my younger and much less mature self. The number of students inside the building doesn’t say how spiritually mature they are, or whether or not, they are actually doing something with their faith beyond youth group programming.

But do play a role in helping you Assess some parts of your Youth Ministry.

And can even be a small part of determining health in your ministry.

Let’s look at a couple ways numbers can actually help you out.

Percentage of your church that’s student ministry

Let’s say you have a student ministry of 20 kids. But you have a regular church attendance of 150 in your church. You have a little over 13% of your church attending student ministry. A stat that gets thrown around that comes from Tony Morgan is that a healthy church should have about 10% of regular church attendance (that’s adults, kids, and students all combined). It holds water. It’s USUALLY a good stat. But take into context a few things: Is your church primarily young families or all retirees? If so, your pool of students may be low. Give yourself some grace. If your church is LOTS of middle-aged families with teens, but you’re just running 8% of the attendance, there may be something you need to look into.

Decrease or Increase Year Over Year

Again, let’s say you have a youth group of 20 kids. And you’ve had 20 kids on average for the last two years. If, during the spring, your weekly average drops to 15 and stays there for a couple months, it’s time to see what’s going on. If it doesn’t jump back up in the fall, when students normally dial back into involvement, you REALLY need to ask what has changed and what needs to happen.

On the other hand, if you start averaging 25 or 30 and the church continues to run 150 to even 200, that’s a BIG reason to celebrate! Be excited and ask for a bigger pizza budget.

Hey, we can all dream.

Volunteer to Student Ratio

For you personally, it’s good to have a team around you. It will increase your longevity, your joy, and your ministry!

Do you have one leader for every ten students? In your youth group of 20, that’s you PLUS one volunteer. I would encourage you to get some help! Having at least two to four OTHER volunteers in your ministry is such a good idea. It helps your accountability, allows people to have life come at them, and does not rock the ministry. I would encourage you to keep getting volunteers until you have at

Students Attending vs Students on the Role

I grew up Southern Baptist. We were BIG on keeping people on the “role,” meaning the list of students who have visited the church, attended at any time, or lived close to the church.

It could get out of hand, honestly.

We had students on the role who had attended VBS in 3rd grade and just got moved up each year, but really, they had no connection to the church. If you’ve got a role, clean it up and get it down to the students attending regularly or are at least really connected to your church.

Then, see how many of them are coming to the youth group! If it’s a healthy percentage, maybe 75% to 100%, awesome! Keep at it! If it’s less healthy, maybe 50% to 25%, it’s time to see what keeps those students away from the youth group.

Numbers are a resource. Not THE resource.

Really. Numbers can be helpful. If you use them well. Don’t get discouraged when numbers don’t match what you’ve hoped and prayed for. Use them as a tool to see what could change and what has worked in the past.

God gave you THESE students at THIS church for a reason. Lean into it! Learn your community and your church culture and reach who God has put in front of you!

You’ve got this!

9 Jan 2024

Sidekick Poll to Kickoff our “So You Got a Phone for Christmas” Junior High Series

By |2024-01-12T14:31:48-08:00January 9th, 2024|Sidekick Hero Blog, Youth Ministry Ideas|4 Comments

This week, we kicked off a brand new series in my junior high ministry – So You Got a Phone for Christmas – a series to help students think through a biblical lens about the newfound technology in their pocket. The point was that the whole world—every thought, every person, good, bad, and UGLY—are now just a tap away. It was fun to kickoff the series, and in the coming weeks, we’ll cover what we listen to, what we watch/stream, and what we post/comment/share.

(click image to enlarge)

To kickoff the series, in my first message called Screens Are Everywhere, I started things off with a Sidekick poll so we could put all of the new iPhones to the test. Just how many screens do you have in your house/world? The answer may shock you!

It sure did for me! We have 5 services, so the answers were slightly different in each service, and of course not everyone in JH has a phone, so it’s not scientific, but it sure was fun!

I can’t believe I did this, but I also showed my “Screen Time” to be honest with students about how adults deal with these same issues as well.

Sidekick makes it so easy to takes phones … remember, our students digital natives and have never known life without them 😳 … and embrace them to help students engage with the message even more. Already excited for next week!

Josh

If you’re using Sidekick and you run into any issues, or if you just have a question, please feel free to reach out to our support team at: [email protected]. Or you can check out other helpful articles and walkthroughs at the Sidekick Help Desk by visiting https://help.sidekick.tv.

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

If you’re using Sidekick and you run into any issues, or if you just have a question, please feel free to reach out to our support team at: [email protected]. Or you can check out other helpful articles and walkthroughs at the Sidekick Help Desk by visiting https://help.sidekick.tv.

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

25 Dec 2023

Merry Christmas from DYM

By |2023-12-25T05:16:46-08:00December 25th, 2023|Youth Ministry Ideas|0 Comments

Dear youth worker, 

We know the Christmas season is a wild roller coaster for most pastors. From hosting events to corral and youth, to making sure that nobody steals any of your decorations to incorporate into the Christmas pageant, the holiday season is a little crazy.

We know that you are ministering to kids who are hurting because they’re disconnected from their parents or don’t feel seen or heard anywhere else but in youth group.

We know you are trying to string together a family Christmas on a Youth Pastor salary and budget.

We know you’ve got your things that you are working through as a follower of Jesus.

As we celebrate the birth of our savior, and what it means for our faith and our students, know that we are thankful for you.

You who creatively seeking out ways to minister to students. You who make the Bible come alive to those who have never heard it before. You who deal with staff drama and that angry parent and the youth group kid who still won’t wear deodorant, we see you.

But more importantly, God sees you. He loves you. He knows how much he loves students and want them to follow after Christ. Your passion matters to us.

So no matter where you are, what Christmas party you’re cleaning up after, what family drama you might be going through right now, or how many text messages you’ll get from students this Christmas, know that you are loved, and we are rooting for you!

Merry Christmas from DYM 

18 Dec 2023

Take a 30 Minute Christmas Break

By |2023-12-18T11:23:23-08:00December 18th, 2023|Youth Ministry Ideas|5 Comments

Christmas is a crazy season for any pastor! You’re more than likely in the middle of planning or executing 12 different Christmas services or parties. You have either received or are ready to send 1 billion Christmas cards. There’s a high probability that your church office is packed with baked goods. These are either ones you plan on giving out or have been dropped off at the church for you and other staff. 

Your to-do list is miles long, and it might feel like you are drowning in all the responsibilities of the season. 

Oh yeah, and we get to celebrate the birth of Jesus. 

In all of the planning and the crazy and busy season, it can be so easy to be all about serving others, planning events, and getting all the Christmas done that we don’t get an opportunity to practice what we preach.

Let me challenge you to do one thing. 

Sometime in the next week, give yourself 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with God. Do whatever refreshes and rejuvenates you. Listen to worship music. Read scripture. Sit alone in silence and pray. Go to coffee with a dear friend and share all God has done over the last year. 

Whatever it is, plan 30 minutes where you reconnect with God in this crazy, busy season! 

I know you’re serving. God knows you’re serving. 

You can’t serve out of an empty cup. 

Give yourself just 30 minutes sometime this week to pour a little back in. 

You never know what God might do with the time you invest in reconnecting with Him! 

11 Dec 2023

How a Silly Idea Called Llamabucks Changed Our Youth Group This Fall

By |2023-12-11T23:47:43-08:00December 11th, 2023|josh griffin, junior high, junior high ministry, Mariners Youth Ministry, Youth Ministry Hacks, Youth Ministry Ideas, Youth Ministry Resources|6 Comments

Last week I had 11 students tell me last week’s memory verse from youth group.

Now, maybe that’s not the most incredible thing in your context, but I added a memory verse to our program over a year ago and this was exactly 8x the most we’ve ever had recite a verse from memory. Now, you could certainly chalk up part of that to poor leadership on my part for the past 365 days, and that’s certainly a contributing factor. But what accounted for the change?

Enter: llama bucks.

Back at Fall Kickoff we introduced a new currency in our youth group, playing off of a llama theme that has kinda taken over. No more prizes, just llama bucks. Serving? Get a llamabuck. Ask a great question in your small group time? Score a llamabuck.

SAY A MEMORY VERSE? Get a llamabuck.

And this thing has taken on a whole life of its own. Despite us having a really horrendous resume and zero experience in distributing an internatioal currency and inflation … we’ve given out thousands of llama bucks. And they can be used in two key ways:

  1. Use them in small amounts right away in the llama store outside the youth room to grab some Nerd Ropes or a Liquid Death (it’s just water people) or some JHM merch.
  2. Save up for the Llama-auction on January 13th, 2024. We have a big event planned with lots of fun, big items (most requested was an eBike, we’ll see, sounds expensive) but we’ll have fun items for students to bid on to use up their bucks.

Reward what you want to see happen in your youth ministry. Not a new idea, just our spin on it … and it’s crushing right now.

Josh

Go to Top