Developing Your Church’s Youth Ministry
Young people are a vital part of God’s church. They are full of life and vigor and have time on their hands. They need to be motivated, organized and directed. They are making decisions that will affect their future. It is a crucial time of their lives and they need strong, spiritual leadership.
One word that states so much; frustration, fears, insecurities, change, decisions, purpose in life, questions, and much more.
But what should it mean to a Christian young person? Should it mean the things listed above or should it mean: consecration, enthusiasm, direction, and an overcoming spirit.
Of course, it should be the latter; but how can it be without qualified and burdened leadership? One who says to the young person “call me, day or night”, the type of individual who gives and gives because they refuse to allow one young person to give up.
You may say that you have 3, 30, or 300 young people in your youth group; but what I want you to ask yourself is, “How many young people are in this city?”
If your answer is 1,000 young people and you have only 3 Holy Ghost filled young people, then your city needs, and deserves, a going Youth Ministry. If your answer is 100 to 1,000,000 young people that are lost, guess what. .you need a vibrant Youth Ministry also.
The concept of a Youth Ministry is not just to save your own, but to save others as well; to save your youth by involvement, and to save your city’s youth by outreach!!
It is easy to say, “We have 300 young people,” and to go off with a misdirected sense of pride because we have a very large youth group. However, the Youth Staff of Christian Life Center realizes that there are approximately 50,000 young people going to a burning Hell for eternity if we do not reach them in this city!
How can you become lifted up with what you have, when you come face to face with what you should have? Have you ever wondered why your youth are in and out, up and down, victorious and then defeated? Could it be because they are wearing a sign saying, “USE ME OR LOSE ME”! If this is the case, then you have two excellent reasons to begin a effective youth program.
1. Your city’s youth that are lost
2. Your own youth who will not remain saved if they do not get involved.
WE KNOW WHY: NOW LET’S DO IT
A. In order to have an effective youth work, your leadership is extremely important, You may have a group of Paul’s, Silas’ and Peter’s, but without a leader, you have nothing.
Let me relate to you an example; One youth group I know of, had a somewhat moderate success story. Then a change was made in leadership. The new leader did not have the standards that the youth were used to (his were lower than theirs), Within weeks, there was turmoil and fighting going on with one group calling the others “HYPROCRITS” and the others yelling back “PHARISEES”.
Now, who do you think was glorified in all of this? Jesus? Wrong, it was old Slewfoot himself!
So, Pastor, look for dedication, not speaking ability. Look for a burden, not a beautiful singer.
B. After selecting a proper leader, explain to him your feeling of direction. Do you want just back up singers for altar call and a Sunday School class, or do you want an evangelistic program and Prayed up young people.
C. Next comes one of the key areas to success….ORGANIZATION! Your leadership must be organized. Even if it is just you and your wife, or a youth leader or youth pastor and a staff of eight.
Each area of involvement needs to be covered. (i.e. youth bus route director, youth ushers coordinator, youth Home Bible studies director, Plus much more) In order to do this, it will take time to PLAN what your youth are to do.
Can you imagine the chaos when General McArthur attempted to conquer the Philippines if he had not organized his forces into air support, artillery, medics, and other areas’? It would have been utter chaos. The same is true if each area of involvement is not defined.
Along with organizing comes STAFF MEETINGS. I don’t mean a
“Hey, Bro. Jack, can you get together something for next Friday night?: I mean an appointed time to sit and discuss and plan for you youth.
Can you imagine going to General Conference and upon arriving, find out that no one knows where to register, where the displays are to be, who is to speak each service, or (Heaven Forbid) who is to take up the offering!! It takes twelve months of planning for that meeting, You owe it to your city to plan, how to reach the lost youth.
BUT WAIT, I’VE ONLY GOT 12 YOUNG PEOPLE
Well, Jesus had only 12 disciples and one of them was a devil, But He turned the world upside down with the same thing you have available, the leading of the Spirit of God,
You do not need to have more than just two to have the Holy Ghost in their midst, The Apostle Paul was only one man, but his track record speaks for itself, Anyone can do it, if you will allow the Spirit to lead you!!!
Maybe you don’t have enough for a 45 voice Senior Choir, but you do have enough for a ,solo or duet.
May be you don’t have enough for four bus routes staffed entirely by young people, but you do have enough to at least knock on one door at a time, asking kids if they want to come to Sunday School.
(Once, a young man, felt a burden to do just anything for God. So he took his pick-up truck to a trailer park and began to gather kids. In just a couple of weeks, their parents were not only letting them go, but they were coming also.)
Maybe you don’t have enough to have a Saturday night service with 700 in attendance, but you do have enough to have a. prayer meeting.
Maybe you don’t have two dozen young people to go hit the streets at 10:00 P.M. on a Friday night, but you do have hand out one tract at a time. One of the most successful “Soul Patrols” I witnessed was in a church with only 49 in attendance.
All it takes to have an outstanding Youth Ministry is ONE young person. Because it won’t be long till there are 2, then 4, then 8, then 16, then…well, you get the picture!
SO ALRIGHT, I’VE GOT THE LEADER, STAFF AND YOUNG PEOPLE! NOW WHAT DO I DO?!!!
Alright, you’ve planned your functions, now hold to them. Always remember that consistency is vital with young people. If choir is to be on Thursday night, you better have it or you’ll not have a choir.
Who likes to plan ahead for next weeks social affairs, only to realize that that certain someone you’ve been waiting to take out just cancelled your date at the Pizza Place because cells were called off and there was nothing else scheduled to take its place, so she can’t go out on a night unless it is a church function and everyone always goes to pizza after cells?
Get the drift, Preacher? Your youth functions should be scheduled and a meeting place arranged ahead of time. Each function should be planned in advance and held in an appropriate place.
Some examples are:
FUNCTION TIME PLACE
Cells Thurs. 7:30 P.M. Assigned Homes
Soul Patrol Fri. 9:30 P.M. Meet at church for prayer then to the Avenue.
Choir Thurs. 8:45 P.M. Auditorium
Quiz Team Sun„ Tues., Wed. Class Room A
We’ve found an announcement board in the Foyer to be a great place to post events for the youth. Also, our overhead projector in the auditorium keeps them informed.
Always use common sense in arranging times and places for activities. However be willing to do the unusual. An example of this is our Careers Class (ages 18-25, single). They meet at a restaurant for Sunday school.
I NEED WORKERS, HOW DO I GET THEM TRAINED?
The easiest way to get good, trained workers, is to look for someone with experience in the area you need. However, if there are none, here are some suggestions:
1. Pick out a qualified individual to work in a specific area, and you train them. After all, you probably know what you want.
2. Locate a neighboring church with someone who has the needed ability in it, then introduce your person to theirs and have them train him with both Pastor’s approval.
3. Locate someone with the needed abilities and have them spend a day or two with your people, training and mobilizing. (Also with Pastor’s approval.).
I’VE GOT EVERYTHING READY, NOW WHERE’S THE MONEY!
Unless you have a rich uncle somewhere, you probably have this problem all the time, Pastor; but don’t worry about it, that’s why you have a Youth Staff. That’s right, let them worry about it!
Now, to your Youth Staff members, don’t go to your Pastor and say “Please, we need some money”.
Your Shepherd has enough problems, so get your people together and get with. it. There are a number of suggestions I can give you. Such as;
1. Car Washes
2. Bake Sales
4. Rock-A-Thon (No, not dancing to Rock-N-Roll, But rocking in rocking chairs.)
5. Candy Sales
6. Hijacking a Brinks Armored Car (This is here to see if you are really paying attention.)
7. Selling Cherries
8. Garage Sales
And on, and on, and on…
WHY SHOULD I EVEN GO TO THE TROUBLE OF’ HAVING A YOUTH MINISTRY?
Because your young people will most likely go to Hell if you don’t. Remember, “Use them or Lose them”.
It is the will of God for your church to grow and multiply. A growing church will never see true revival until it’s young people begin to explode with a fervent evangelistic zeal.
Some points to consider in encouraging revival in your youth are;
1. Fellowship is one thing, cliques= should not be allowed.
2. Involved youth are enthused youth.
3. Disgruntled young people sometimes means disgruntled parents.
4. Fired-up young people, means fired-up parents. (Not always, but it does help.)
5. In order for your youth to pray and worship, you must be the proper example.
6. Love your youth now, keep them for eternity.
7. Do unto your youth, as you would have them do unto you.
8. If your youth are involved today, they won’t be in the way tomorrow.
9. Jesus sacrificed for them, can you do anything else.
SOME AREA OF YOUTH INVOLVEMENT AT CHRISTIAN LIFE CENTER
3. Musical Groups
4. Bus Ministry
5. Home Bible Studies
6. Group Leaders (Mature youth, shepherding others)
7. Soul Patrol (Street witnessing)
8. Quiz Team
9. Sunday School Teachers
11. Tape Ministry
12. Spanish Ministry
13. Day Care Workers
14. Prison Ministry
15. Printing Dept.
16. Christian Brotherhood
17. Information Takers (at altars)
18. Coffee House
19. Deaf Ministry
21. Covenant of Prayer
22. Uplift to Life
AND MUCH MORE
The above article, “Developing Your Church’s Youth Ministry,” is written by Paul Hart. The article was excerpted from Class Handout notes of the 1988 Youth Quest Training Seminar, October 1988.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.