This week we’re going to take on the top 3 questions that we get when people come to visit our youth ministry. You’ll get mine (Josh) today and Kurt’s tomorrow. Here are 3 very frequently asked questions:
How can I start a youth ministry internship at my church?
We are very blessed to have some really incredible interns at our church and a program that doesn’t cost the church a ton of money that produces some pretty amazing youth workers. If you want to start one, you’ve got to answer some very basic but fundamental questions about the program:
•Will we pay the interns?
•Where are they going to live/eat/office?
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•What is the duration of the program?
•What are we hoping to accomplish in both them and in our ministry?
If you can answer those basic questions, you are off to a great start! For starters, I would pay the interns a very small stipend, if possible, to help cover gas and a couple meals, and keep the duration short like a summer term. Map out the basics of what they will be doing and how you want to shape them and you’re well on your way.
While I don’t have space for much more, for extra credit here’s a roadmap of where to go next:
•Look for margin where you can add managing interns to your regular workweek. The last thing interns need is an absent leader!
•Create a required reading list during the internship.
•Schedule a few times for them to interact with key leaders in the church.
•As you plan their development, consider having them observe, follow then lead an event, youth service and volunteer from application to placement.
How many events do you guys do at your church?
We made a decision long ago that we weren’t going to build a ministry that was event-driven. But to be honest, we have to continually fight the advance of program creep. Program creep is there you continue to add more and more and not take anything away!
With that in mind, we have our weekly youth group on the weekend and small groups that meet in homes during the week, and then just occasional supplemental events from there. A serve project here, a Dodgeball tournament there. We consciously don’t do a ton of events to keep balance on the biblical purposes. Just so you know, in summer we do a TON more events, so things change with the seasons, too!
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So do you teach every week at youth group?
I would guess I teach about 50% of the time in our youth ministry—I love giving the platform away for so many reasons:
•Students need to hear from different voices.
•Sometimes the same thing being said by someone else sticks.
•Leaders need platforms to develop their speaking skills.
•I need a break!
Don’t be afraid to give away your platform a little bit—you might be surprised at how quickly you fall in love with the byproducts of it. Just keep in mind as the point person make sure you are speaking at the key times and visible and supportive when you’re not on stage.