10 Awesome Youth Ministry Room Design Ideas

I just came back from Florida where I spoke at Life For Youth Camp for two weeks. It was an amazing time with many kids finding the Lord. I made some connections while I was down there and one of them was Joe Maldanado. He’s the Executive and Youth Pastor (sweet combo) of Lakeview Church’s 24/7.

We had coffee and he invited me out to see his facility. This was a great opportunity to do an episode of More Than A Youth Room. Here ‘s the video and, below, I share my top 10 take aways you can easily put to work in your own youth room.

Here’s 10 awesome room design ideas from the video

Retro Video Games

Why try to keep up with the new and shiny when you can go old school. Grab those retro game systems here and here to let kids go back to the future in their game play.

Designate A Room

Joe’s Orange Room is like a Green Room on those fancy talks shows, It’s a place for his volunteers to come chill and, as he says in the video, pray for one another. Yes, this is a luxury, but if you can make a room for leaders (even student leaders) why not do it? It communicates so much.

Hang Some CD’s Cases

I thought the CD’s on the wall was a nice touch. You could hang cd or even album covers. Maybe you could grab some old comic books you find at the thrift store and hang those as well.

Guest Services Area

Joe had a sweet area just for guests to connect. He had guest cards, info books, etc. You could combine the two if you have space issues. Having a guest areas says you value guests, you have with that guests will come, and you expect your kids to bring guests.

 Check In Area

This is for the regulars to come and check in. Joe gives the kids cards to swipe and check in with.

Cafe’ Area

I love that how Joe said, “No kids goes hungry.” Having a cafe, no matter how simple, allows us to meet a need in our group. The cafe is a great way to train kids in leadership and give them a responsibility as well as giving parents or other church people the opportunity contribute food or meals.

I love the ticket system. Tickets are handed out, discreetly, to kids who may have food availability issues.

You can grab some cool cafe stools here.

What’s Happening Area

How had his whole summer planned out and was clearly visible to students.

Use Of Neutral Colors

Joe was intentional not to favor any of the schools in his area and went with orange and gray.

Create A Home-Like Environment 

For many young people, youth is or could be a home away from home. Joe is intentional about creating this kind of space. How are you making your youth room more homey?

Prayer and/or Conversation Area

I love the five chairs Joe has in the back of the room. I know I have called up kids to receive Christ, but what a non-threating way for kids to come know the Lord. Having an area kids can come to after the meeting for prayer give youth workers a chance to connect with hurts and needs.

That’s it. These are my 10 design take aways. Did you have a favorite your going to steal or maybe is sparked a new idea. Let me know in the comments.

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Designing Your Youth Space: Plan Like NYC

Because of our new youth room, my mind is attuned to anything that is talking about space. So, the other day I was listening to Diane Rehm  interviewing New York City Planning Commissioner, Amanda Burden. She had some great things to say about creating special spaces in a huge city like NYC. I’d like to offer a few quotes and then some commentary.

And just before that time, I met my most important mentor. His name was Holly White, William H. White, and he wrote “The Organization Man,” and he was an urbanologist who specialized in public spaces. And he said to me, you can measure the health of the city by the vibrancy of its streets and public spaces, and that became my passion.

ur·ban·ol·o·gist (ûrb-nl-jst)n. A sociologist who specializes in the problems of cities and urban life.

You could say, “You can measure the health of a youth ministry by it’s space.” but that is a little overboard. I would re-phrase it this way,

Rooms and space are an important aspect of a youth ministry’s ability to be spiritually and emotionally healthy,

Buildings and room plans cannot change a heart but it might put a teen at ease long enough to listen to you share the gospel. I have not done a formal study on this, but my guess is, the church in your town with the best facilities is getting the lion share of kids to show up. That doesn’t mean they’re doing everything well or even making disciples of Jesus, but they do have the raw material of the gathering to work with. 

We can swing overboard both ways on this topic. We can obsess about our meeting space or ignore it and say things like “It’s the Spirt that matters, not the room we meet in.” I agreed, to a point, but some teens may want to come to your creepy church basement to experience the Spirit. Let’s be people of balance. 

And having the public spaces to study, it makes all the difference in the world because that’s what makes people fall in love with the city. The public spaces, the parks, the streets, just finding places that they can enjoy, have that respite, whether it’s on the waterfront, whether it’s in Bryant Park, or whether it’s in a small place in Paley Park, whether it’s on a sidewalk café. All of those things make a city wonderful.

I like the word respite. It’s possible that our youth rooms can be so busy (video games, lights, etc.) there is no respite. No place to think, talk, rest, or pray. In other words, we have to balance the energy of Times Square and make room for the respite of Central Park. 

Yes. Well, you know, as you’ve heard, we have very, very broad, ambitious plans for shaping the whole city, but really how we judge a project is how it feels at the street. That’s what people really care about. How does it feel walking along that street? Are there many stores along an individual block? Are there shade trees in a park? Are there places to sit that are comfortable?

This is the key phrase “What does it feel like at street level”. When was the last time you looked at your space from a teens point of view? The “build it and they will come” may have worked for a few weeks, but if we watch how our teens gather, how they break up, how they sit together, it may clue us to the effort we should put into the seating and lay out of the rooms we meet in. 

When you sit at the water’s edge, can you see over the railing? Or does the railing block your view? Do you feel that there is a place for you, for sun and shade, a table to hold your book? Each of these things is very important and details make all the difference.

Pay attention to detail. Your kids are. They know when it doesn’t look right or feel right. Our rooms, their smell, their color, and their layout all may be making our jobs of ministering to our teens  little harder. 

If you would like more room design ideas, I have 29 videos just waiting for you over here.

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