This is part seven in my pillars of youth ministry series. You can start the series from the beginning here.
Too many churches have youth groups meeting in their buildings. Yes, I said it right. There are churches who have youth groups who meet in their building but there is no connection between the groups. Effectively, the youth group could or should pay rent and run the program as a para-church ministry. As bleek as this sounds, it can change.
Connection, interaction, between the adult congregation and the youth ministry must be a pillar for the youth ministry, otherwise, why bother having a youth ministry?
Children’s ministry is the minor league of youth ministry. Youth ministry is the minor league of the adult congregation. Minor leagues are great teams on their own, My friend Len goes and watches the Montgomery Biscuits every chance he gets. We have the Birmingham Barons, a feeder team for the White Sox.
Why do people go watch minor league teams? Why do they spend time waiting around to get autographs? Because they know they could be watching the next stars of their favorite pro baseball team. Some of these kids are going to get the call to move up and make millions of dollars, so yes, people are paying attention and becoming fans early.
Pastor’s who are simply letting youth groups “meet” in their building without scouting their youth ministry for the next deacons, leaders and teachers are only hurting themselves long term.
If you’d read any of my other posts on the subject of student leaders, you know I believe lots of teenager should be in included right now in the life of the congregation. The youth ministry, and the kids ministry, should not be relegated to Youth Sunday and the once a year kids Christmas play. I think they all should start serving alongside adults who intentionally disciple them.
Teenagers who only know the youth pastor as pastor are missing the big picture. It is, in my opinion, the youth pastors job to introduce as many kids to the pastor as he can. The more the pastor knows their name the more he can feel comfortable interacting with them. It is also the pastor’s job to reach out to the youth pastor and ask “Who are some of your new students I need to meet?”
There are may ways to connect the adults in the church with students,
- The pastor and the youth pastor can switch pulpits for a week.
- The youth pastor can invite young guys and their fathers to the men’s breakfast or mens retreat.
- A lady who could be dubbed Youth Liaison, could invite girls and their mothers who are new to the church to a women’s event.
- Let students serve the pot luck meal (not a fundraiser, just to serve)
- Intergenerational services around tables where there can be food and discussion around a sing message that applies to everyone.
- Get teens plugged into the Easter or Christmas drama or choir.
With a little bit of effort and intention, there are many strategic ways for adults and students to connect that will only benefit the church long term.
Youth Ministries, if not youth pastors, collapse when they feel like or are actually flying solo with no support and no connection.
If we are to follow Jesus’ words in John 17:21,
I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
Let’s begin by breaking down the silos of age and mix it up so that teenagers can build relationship that will lead to the “majors” and that the adults can get the must needed inspirations that their church has a future and a hope.
If I can inspire your congregation by speaking on the subject of intergenerational ministry, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
If your youth pastor/workers need coaching or training, I’d love to come do a training or coach them online though my Ministry Minded Coaching Program.