That day is coming, if it has not come already, where you will open your youth room doors and students will come in for the first meeting after the pandemic, but what kind of students will be returning? Will they be the same students you had before or have their values shifted?
This is your opportunity to find out.
I recently asked a youth pastor I am coaching if he felt like he was leading with authenticity. I asked him this because he seemed to be uncomfortable and unsure if what he was doing was the “right way”.
I asked him, “How would you describe your model of ministry?” He said, “I run the youth ministry the same way I experienced youth ministry” and there it was. He was leading kids with model that was not connecting with his students.
Before you re-launch your youth ministry, it’s a good time to re-evaluate it. Before you go back to “normal” take the time to see where things have shifted and if you need to make changes in the way you lead.
The same advice, and experiment, I have this youth pastor is what I am going to share with you.
Schedule two of your meetings to focus on “Who are we?” and “How do we do who we are?”
Who Are We?
The focus of this meeting is to discover what students value.
Write up 15-20 Index Cards with a single value on each of them. They can be things like Unity, Friendship, Kindness, Faith, Diversity, Loving Others, etc.
Tell Students: Tonight, I want to know what we, as a group, value. I have here some index cards with some values on them and I want you, as a group, to only pick five of them to represent our youth ministry for the next six months.
Note: There will be several benefits to do this exercise
- You’er going to watch students struggle to choose values that matter.
- You’re going to see who you’re leaders are.
- You’re going to see what they actually value.
Let your group discuss for 10-15 minutes and choose the five values they’d like this youth ministry to represent.
Read: Matthew 22;37-40
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
How did Jesus show that he loves God (His Father)? How did Jesus show that he love people?
Why did you choose the values you chose? Do you think they line ups with what Jesus valued?
Are there any values you feel bad about not choosing? Why?
Say: Our life purpose is to live like Jesus did. To do this we have to embrace what Jesus valued. We have to, in our daily lives, live our these values. This is what being a follower of Jesus is all about.
Close in prayer
How Do We Do Who We Are?
You next meeting is about how you do youth ministry based on the values your students gave you.
Write down 15-20 program elements on index card. Ask your students to pick 5 program elements they enjoy about youth group. These elements could be communion, games, preaching, worship, or after service gathering time.
The goal is to integrate the values with the program elements. Students who are able to see their values expressed and connected with God’s purposes, through the program, is a powerful combination.
Kids who feel like they have invested in the program have more ownership and it, in my experience, increases their desire to be a part of such a program.
Read: Matthew 5:13-16
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its savor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Why did Jesus compare us to salt and light?
Does everything we do in our meeting reflect salt and light? Why or why not?
Why did you choose these program elements?
How do we live out these biblical values through our program?
Why is this important?
Example: What does love look like through worship? What does friendship look like through our small groups?
Note: Take each value and pass it through the program element. Allow kids to share their ideas of what this value looks like express through this program element. Take notes, allow kids to elaborate on there ideas and you’ll watch their excitement for the youth program grow.
Say: Based on all you’ve shared, we’re going to implement some of these ideas for the next six week. At the end of the six weeks we’ll review our choices and how they worked.
Close in prayer.
I hope you enjoyed these two simple exercise. This is the kind of coaching you will receive when you sign up for my coaching group. I hope to see you there.