For many youth groups, routine reigns.


Now, I do think it’s a great thing for there to be a routine in our student services. We live in an ever-changing world, and students are changing themselves. Routine and consistency can be a very good thing. Students know the youth group is there for them, there are leaders there who will care about them, and they have a place to look forward to going.


I do, however, think routine can begin to kill a youth ministry program. When any program just offers the same thing over and over again, people tune out. I think it’s the same in our groups. If we are not careful, we fall into a system of routine. We fail to take a good look at what we are providing for students. We fail to see if there is something we can do better to reach the students in our care.


In light of this, I like to ask my ministry team some probing questions to get the juices flowing. The goal of these questions is to reach the next step to keep growing our ministry numerically, to ensure emotional health for our leaders, and to promote spiritual growth for our students.


I challenge every leader to ask similar questions in regard to their ministry. You would be surprised what people have to say, and you could be surprised at how it can help take your ministry to the next level.


What should be our short, measurable goals for this year? What should be the next thing we take, improve, start?

  • What are the things we are shooting for by the end of the 2020 school year?
  • I love to focus on attendance numbers, small group numbers, and number of leaders we have.
  • Also, for the first time ever, we are doing an all-campus family ministry training day. We are having all our leaders from all our campuses who are serving from birth to high school together in one room for encouragement, worship, and breakout training sessions for specific areas of ministry.


What specifically can you be doing to help reach the next level in the new year in the area you oversee?

  • This question can be asked if you work on a team or if you have a team of volunteers. This allows your people to begin to think critically about how and where they are serving, and they can have a voice in the direction of the ministry. If you are the only one giving input in the direction of the ministry, I think you are missing out on some major insight and direction.


Is your workload okay? Do you feel good with what you have now? Do you want more work? Less? Why?

  • I think this is an important question. Hopefully, you have developed a culture of honesty and candor so this question can be truly effective. I love these questions because it allows people to be real about the expectations you have for them in regards to leading and running services or groups. In many cases I have found that volunteers are underutilized and actually can (and want to) handle more responsibility. This question is a fun one. It could potentially unleash some great leaders to do more.


What is one thing (if any) that we should consider killing in the new year? What is one thing (if any) we should consider starting or re-doing?

  • All sacred cows should die, unless they are still helping you accomplish your goals. The line, “Well, this is how we always have done it,” should be removed from any ministry leader’s vocabulary. So what is that thing in your ministry that should be done, but is not done? Maybe it doesn’t need to die, but it needs a major face-lift. What is the thing that you are doing now which, if revamped, could be even more effective (but you have not revamped it because you have been in the routine mode)? These questions also allow the people you do ministry with to dream a bit. They all could be thinking the same thing, and could give you insight on what you could be working on in the new year.


We’re going through these questions right now in our ministry. The conversations have already been great, and I think they could be something great for your ministry as well as you start a new year.