Those of us involved in reaching and discipling teenagers have inherited a box labeled "Youth Ministry." There's a lot of great stuff in the box that's been left to us by our youth ministry forefathers.
We've all read the scary statistics of teenagers who evacuate their Christian faith after they graduate from high school. I've read statistics as high as 85% and some as low as 50%. But regardless of the actual number all of us can agree that any is too many! We want as many of our teenagers' faith as possible to, not just survive, but to thrive long after they leave high school!
I love youth leaders. And, although I get to train thousands of them all across the nation every year, one of my favorite things is learning from them. Many youth leaders have great and effective strategies that they're implementing to create the most impacting youth group programs possible.
2016 has been a year of uncertainty. From American politics to church politics you may find yourself reeling. So it's probably time to get back to the elemental priorities that can insure that 2017 is your best year in youth ministry yet!
1. Make prayer numrero uno!
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people..." 1 Timothy 2:1
One of my passions in life is to see youth leaders succeed. I mean REALLY succeed. These men and women who have dedicated their lives to reaching and discipling young people are facing tough odds. From apathetic teenagers, to disengaged parents, to unsympathetic elder boards, to shrinking budgets, to a ticked off army of demons, youth leaders are up against some intense opposition.
Cultivating these 10 habits will help youth leaders improvise, adapt and overcome.
For the last quarter of a century, God has blessed me with the privilege of speaking to hundreds of thousands of people across the nation, primarily through Dare 2 Share events. In addition, I've spoken at tons of conferences, festivals and churches to students and adults alike.
Over the years I've developed a list of 10 actions steps I take when I prepare for and give a talk. These help me craft and deliver messages that go for maximum spiritual impact every time. I hope they encourage you as you prepare and deliver talks that glorify God, equip the believers and reach the lost.
Finding adults who are willing to pour their lives into teenagers is an important part of every youth leader's job. Effective youth leaders understand that they can't do it alone.
But one of the challenges, beside recruiting the right kind of volunteers, is keeping them long term. In the busy business of life, even the best youth ministry volunteer can lose momentum (and eventually interest) if they are not being led effectively.
"Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, 'Come to bed with me!' But he refused." Genesis 39:7,8
When Joseph was sold into slavery as a 17 year old teenager he had no idea what awaited him. Sure he would serve time as a slave and as a prisoner but he would also be relentlessly tempted by a beautiful older woman who wanted to have sex with him.
Joseph just said no...again and again. And his refusals would eventually lead to a chain of events that would save his family, the future nation of Israel, from starvation.
Joseph's three keys can help keep both us and our teenagers pure from sexual sin:
In youth ministry (or most any ministry for that matter) getting the right volunteers is key. In a low-funded, big-vision ministry world, getting the best volunteers to join you on your quest is absolutely non-negotiable.
1. Spend time praying that God will give you the right passage(s) to preach.
2. Exegete the needs of the audience before you exegete the meaning of the text.
3. Soak yourself in the passage(s) you are going to preach. Ask God through his Holy Spirit to reveal to you the meaning, main point and some powerful insights.