I have been ministering to teenagers for over 30 years now, and my wife and I have led several successful youth ministries over the years. Over the next few posts I want to share the seven “secrets” that made our youth ministries so successful.
The obvious reason for our success, and cannot be overstated, is God’s grace and love and the power of the Holy Spirit. I have no man made way of helping you create God’s church, it is His work alone and His journey with you; but God has taught me a thing or two on the process of navigating various kinds of groups to “success”. So, no matter where you are in the process of your ministry career, or youth ministry, it’s never too late to start the journey to success.
Secret #1 Determine What Success Is
If I asked you if you had a successful youth ministry, what would you say?
- We have X amount of kids
- We fulfill our churches purpose (s)
- We have well attended small groups
- We have a great worship band and worship experiences.
- We have 50% of our kids serve once a quarter
No matter what your answer is, you’re right, because that’s how you are measuring success. My first “secret” to creating a successful youth ministry is knowing what success is. If you don’t have metrics in place that communicate whether you’re successful or not; start to prayerfully consider what those metrics are.
Scripture is the church’s spiritual metric and cannot be replaced, but there are principles of success that will help you whether you’re just starting out or you’re hitting the reset button.
Here are the two metrics I have used in all my youth ministries
1. How many kids know who they are in Christ (If they know Christ)?
If kids know who they are in Christ, they can be effective leaders and servants in God’s Kingdoms. I teach it, preach it, and live it. It permeates the culture of the group.
Teaching identity in Christ is not always easy when you start out. Kids want one thing and you want another. I stay the course in the first year, let the shake out happen (if there is any, and there has been some), and then we moved forward.
2. How opportunities of service can I create to help kids find their place in the Body of Christ
I had a magnetic board in our youth room called the Endeavor Board. It showed me how many people were serving, on a weekly basis, to make the youth meeting happen. The Endeavor Board was just one metric, it told me who was “getting it” and what I need to do to get more people involved.
We performed a drama in our church. We had 10 kids participate and many of those kids do not use the magnetic board on a weekly basis, but this is how they are wanting to serve. Drama was in their wheelhouse and they’re using their gifts.
I had a kid tell me he wanted to lead a Heavy Metal Bible Study based on Christian Heavy Metal songs. He only had one kid show up, but he owned it. I helped him design invites, he handed them out in school, and then he lead the group. To me, that’s success.
In the end, it’s about discipleship. The following of Jesus. And disciples are made over the long haul. Success is a long journey that never ends. Here’s to your success and God’s glory.
What is your definition of a successful youth ministry?
What metrics (measurements) do you use that tell you whether you are successful?
Click HERE to go to Secret # 2: Know Your Role