Here are ten goals for youth ministry. Tweak, add-to, take away from.
1. Do whatever it takes to get teens to heaven.
Paul wrote that he became all things to all people so that some might be saved (II Corinthians 9:19-23). How well does this relate to your ministry? What could you be doing that might reach more teens in your schools and community?
Ministry has its own set of pressures. We have to worry about what the leaders, parents, and members will think about a program or event. By doing whatever it takes to get teens to heaven, you will endure your share of criticism about your approaches, but keep the goal in focus. Keep everyone involved aware that you are not using a certain technique just to be different, but to bring teens to Jesus.
2. Help teens develop a personal relationship with God.
While second-hand faith is better than no faith, there’s no doubt that first-hand faith wins the prize. Help teens develop a faith that says, “I believe in God, not because my parents say so, or because my youth minister or preacher says so, but because I have experienced and know God in my life.”
3. Involve teens in daily Bible study and prayer.
Instead of simply asking your group to read the Bible and pray daily, provide the opportunity and tools to make it possible. Develop a daily Bible reading schedule for your teens. Supply information on Bibles designed for youth so they can get a grip on the Word in a way relevant to them.
Form prayer groups of three that meet at school, or that call each other daily for prayer requests. Challenge your group to pray before getting out of bed and before going to sleep. Have teens set their watch alarms for a certain time each day to signal prayer time. Create as many tools as needed to get them into the Bible and prayer on a daily basis.
4. Build a Christ-like attitude and spirit into the youth group.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus,” Philippians 2:5. This means more than just asking, “What would Jesus do?” It calls for a clear-cut lifestyle of surrender. What is the attitude of Jesus?
• Attitude of a Servant (v. 7)
• Attitude of Humility (v. 8)
• Attitude of Obedience (v. 8)
If every teen becomes a servant, how many things will get done? If every teen becomes humble, how much arguing will take place? If every teen becomes obedient to God, how much better could the youth conventions be? Of course, developing a Christ-like attitude in your group begins by displaying a Christ-like attitude in your life.
5. Develop quality leadership among the group.
Jesus called His followers with, “Follow me.” By the end of His ministry He had trained them to lead. Paul even said, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1). Give your teens the responsibility and let them lead. Dust them off when they fall down and encourage them to keep going.
Here are a few ways you can let teens lead: Devotionals, teaching class, heading up a service project, forming prayer groups, etc.
6. Parental support and participation.
Believe it or not, There are some in your congregation who see youth ministry as a divider of parents and their children. Prevent this by creating a high level of parental involvement.
Have your parents teach for a quarter, host devotionals in their homes, chaperone trips, etc. Check out Group Publishing’s 130 Ways to Involve Parents in Your Ministry for more great ideas.
7. Develop evangelistic teens.
Redirect the vision of your group by training them to see each classmate, each neighbor, each family member, each clerk, each waiter, just fill in the blank, each ____________ as an opportunity to share the Lord.
Jesus left the message in our mouths and lives. Help your group become evangelistic by creating an atmosphere that makes guests want to return. Go out to the school campus and meet kids on their turf. Be available, open and loving.
8. Establish positive relationships with other youth groups in the area.
If we are not careful ministry can become a competition where the leader with the most teens wins. Because of that, we may be afraid to do things with other groups for fear that our teens might spot something “cooler” than what we provide. Don’t forget #4 and build a Christ-like attitude by doing things with other groups like retreats or prayer nights. One of the easiest ways to establish positive relationships is by participating together in community events such as the March for Jesus, or collecting food and toys for needy families during the holidays.
9. Include teens as part of the congregation.
Have you ever felt the perception that there is the church, and then there is the youth group? Integrate the group into the congregation by getting the teens involved in praying, scripture reading, or whatever format your church follows. Most churches let teens participate on youth days. But encourage your leadership to include teens on a regular basis, not just special days.
10. Equip teens to go into all the world and teach the Gospel.
While every teen has the responsibility to evangelize around them, a few feel the call to literally go into all the world. Prepare them for that future by encouraging and praying for him or her. Help sponsor teens on a yearly mission trip to gain experience. Provide contacts through special mission organizations to get teens involved. Who knows how many will come to know the Lord as a result of your ministry.