Youth Ministry Is Not A Democracy

I’ve tried my best to please kids, to a point, but youth ministry is not a democracy. Some things are not up for a vote.

I don’t let kids vote what music is played in the youth hall or the van , I set the standard and give them options.

I don’t let them vote on the name of the youth ministry, I dribble out a few names to a few  students to see what they think, and then we decide.

I don’t let them vote on where they go to camp, even if that means some do not go.

I don’t let them vote about what I preach on.  I listen, ask questions, and let the Holy Spirit reveal it.

Can you imagine Moses taking a vote to go into the promise land?

Can you imagine Joshua taking a vote whether they should attack Jericho?

It’s not up for a vote if we’re going to feed the poor, share Jesus with the lost, have worship, or care of the lonely.

Can you imagine Jesus taking a vote on wether the disciples wanted to get in the boat and go to the other side?

We should always build consensus with young people, but young people do not know what they want, only want what is best of them, and most,  do not understand the consequences of their choices; this is why they need a leader not a friend.

We should always listen, talk, and even debate, but some things, most things,  are not up for a vote. Leaders have to lead and students will decide if they want to follow or not.



The Content Driven Youth Ministry Part I

Content Driven Youth Ministry

We live in a content driven culture. We want new posts, new videos, and a site with a long  tail of searchable content. Click bait on sites like BuzzFeed and Digg create titles that titillate and get us to click so we will stay on their sites longer. As youth workers, similarly, we want our kids to extend their time in the Bible. prayer. and living for Christ beyond out youth meetings.

I create content every week in our Sunday School and Mid-week programs with the prayer that the Holy Spirit will use use it to speak to kids and draw them into a deeper relationship with God.  A lot of my time, energy, and prep goes into those meetings, but I don’t want the content of the meeting to stay in the room once my time message concludes and I am shutting off the lights to leave.   I am doing my best to ask the question,  “How do I extend the content and conversation online and off?”. The first step I took was to realize that everything in my meeting is shareable, extendable,  content.

I look at my youth ministry as a combination of social media platforms crammed into one website. Kids come to check out the content and decide if they’re going to favorite my youth meeting so they can easily check it out every week or if this is meeting is ignorable.  According to an article on Hubspot, 55% of People Spend Less Than 15 Seconds On Your Website. This data is similar to the stat that kids will decide whether they like you and hence your  youth ministry within about seven seconds. I don’t understand all the science behind that but I find it to be true of myself when checking out restaurants.

No one likes to come by my blog if I have not written anything new or if my site is confusing to navigate. Here are some links to some terrible websites.

25 Worst Websites of 2013

As you try to navigate them, ask yourself what frustrates you about them? The design? The colors? The purpose? How are these websites are like your youth ministry and is your youth ministry frustrating your kids?

Join me this week as I explore the content driven ministry and how to extend our conversation with kids.

Your Turn

If our youth meetings are like a website,  ask yourself some important questions:

How often do I update my content?

How is my content designed and organized?

Can students easily navigate our youth ministry’s or is it confusing?

Is my information relative or outdated?

Leave me your  answers in the comment section.






How Strong Is Your Foundation?

It’s simple, you can’t build a 2200 sq. ft house on a 100 sq. ft foundation and yet we have all tried. We’ve tried to build on hype and hype is short lived. Those who want to build their youth ministry large, must build the foundations wider an deeper. Scripture says, ” When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3

Here are my top five foundational builders

  • Doctrine– I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. If we are not teaching our students biblical beliefs we are building on sand. Storms will come and if our students are banking on our next worship services to get them by, we are in trouble. Try teaching through the Apostles Creed for a semester. Doctrine is the steel that is laid throughout the foundation to tie it all together.
  • Relationships– Go to that wedding, that funeral , even if you don’t have to. It’s foundational. You are showing that you care about more than just a youth ministry but a whole church family. Keep your relationships with parents, staff, and students hot. Make that phone call, post FB status’ when kids succeed, send that e-mail to parents, it matters. Ministry does not happen without relationships. Ministry is relationships.
  • Vision– Where are you going? Where are you promising to take them ? What has God put on your heart and what has He shown you in His word? Organizations need vision. Make it plain and then follow up with the steps to make it happen.
  • Execution– Do what you promised. Nothing will send cracks through your foundation quicker than unfulfilled promises.
  • Mentoring– If you are not training students to lead, don’t unpack, you won’t be there long. We must have a plan and a path to lead students along. Weekly meetings with key students (see #2) and empowering them to do all that God has put on their hearts (see #3) will only strengthen the foundation. Don’t do a for a student what you can train a student to do.

There are more, but these have been my core values for over 20 years. Did I miss one? Let me know what has been foundational for you.