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Leadership

Okay, yesterday was fun: We got a few comments saying stuff like, “Hey…everybody is already doing small groups.” This two-day series isn’t titled, “Cool stuff nobody is doing.” It’s a look at the best practices that most groups ARE doing, and hopefully giving you a few things to think about along the way. Like yesterday we want to make sure you hear that there is no PERFECT way to do youth ministry; our hope is that these best practices of churches across the country will help you in shaping yours.

BEST PRACTICE: Relational youth ministry is the best kind of ministry.
Caring adults pouring into our lives made us the people we are today. We could easily list out the influential people in our lives who aren’t famous and will never write best-selling books—they just did the hard work of walking through life alongside us, coaching and shaping us into the men God wanted us to become.

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FREEBIE #5 via Group Mission Trips!
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Great youth ministers are empowering great men and women of God to have a direct relational influence in the life of the teenagers in their church. Want to build a great youth ministry? Bring in great leaders.

QUESTIONS:
• Where can you improve using leaders relationally in your ministry?
• When was the last time you thanked God for the incredible leaders you have in your ministry? Take time today!
• Who do you need to seek out and invite to be a part of your team?
BEST PRACTICE: Youth ministry shouldn’t be done in isolation
Early in youth ministry, many youth workers tend to build a “church within a church”—a church for students inside of a church for adults. And while this specialization certainly lends itself to targeted messages and great community, it can also make it difficult for a student to transition into the adult congregation. A healthy youth ministry doesn’t exist in its own little silo.

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FREEBIE #5 via Group Mission Trips!
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QUESTIONS:
• Take a good look at your youth ministry right now. Is it in its own little world? What can you do to change that and build bridges?
• Think about your recent graduates; did they also graduate from their faith?
• What steps can you take to make sure that your youth ministry is clearly part of the whole church congregation?

What other best practices are you finding in youth ministry?

2 COMMENTS

  • anonymous says:

    Let me first say that I agree that relational ministry is both very important and very effective; when it happens. But my own experience as a teenager is more like the reality on the ground, as least the ground that I tred. As a youth I was not in a youth ministry that had any adult “pouring themselves” into my heart. A couple of decent examples but nothing close to relational ministry. And my experience as a youth minister sheds light on what I experienced as a teen. There are many fewer adults than are needed who are willing to be part of youth ministry and even fewer of them who are comfortable extending themselves deeply into relational ministry.
    I’m not knocking relational ministry but, neither can I reach 200+ kids on a relational level. (That 200+ is the number that have at least some minimal connection to our ministry. There are at least twice as many to be reached.) Yet here I am decades later striving to connect hundreds of kids in my church to Jesus Christ.
    So relational ministry can remain a good target. But I think we are better served to find best practices that effectively connect with the youth, and connects the youth with the Church, on the paradigm of way more youth to be connected than adults to help make that connection. That, I believe is a far greater and more pressing challenge. In my ministry I am not happy only connecting with a relative few on a personal relation basis while there are much greater numbers without connection.

  • rev moon says:

    I absolutely agree with the relational ministry model. 3 years ago we implemented a one-to-one mentoring system into our ministry. We had several students who made pretty dramatic “decisions” during youth camp. We wanted to stave off the “camp-high” effect and walk with them to establish mmore intentional spiritual disciplines. We gave them a Bible reading plan specific to their decision (new convert or renewed commitment), an easy prayer formula (Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield) asked them to start modeling their new life in front of their friends and met once a week for about a hour to pray, read scripture and talk through any questions or issues. From 6 original students & mentors, we quickly had requests from other students and the process has now become the norm. Our only dilemma is the shortage of willing, qualified adults. I cannot overstate the positive impact this has had on this student ministry. Revival is the best word that comes to mind.

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