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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

7 Keys To An Effective Youth Ministry

At People's Church, we believe that there are essential ingredients we must have in our student ministry to make it effective. Here are seven of them:

1. The youth ministry must support the vision of the senior pastor. I'm here to serve Pastor Herbert and People's Church, not build a separate youth ministry. Everything we do falls under his vision.

2. The youth ministry staff must lead through volunteers. I'm here to be a leader, not just a doer. If I'm not leading leaders, I'm not going to be effective. I also believe that in order for our ministry to grow, we must be ready for the harvest, not catching up to it. We are constantly building and training our leadership team.

3. Youth ministry must be done with excellence. This generation deserves the best and nothing less. With that, we hold everything we do to a high standard. We are always looking for what we can do better to reach and disciple more students. We also correct everything that is not done with excellence. We want students and parents to leave Epic with a good first impression. This happens when we pay attention to every detail and do everything with excellence.

4. Our experiences are geared toward un-churched students. We want to grow our youth ministry by reaching students who don't know Jesus instead of getting them from other churches. The pre-service music, set up, worship, message and Community Groups are all done with an un-churched student in mind. Every week we give students an opportunity to receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

5. We put a heavy emphasis on Community Groups. We believe the best way for students to grow spiritually is through relationships. On Wednesday night, every one of our students is in a Community Group.

6. During the school year, we are on campuses every week. This plays a huge part in our effectiveness in reaching students in Oklahoma City. We rarely have a week where we aren't on campuses. This is a great way to connect with our students and their friends on their turf. It also helps us build relationships with our community through the local schools.

7. Live by a “safety first” motto - the last thing I want to do is have an event, teach a message, send out a mailer or play a game that could come back and cause headaches for Pastor Herbert. Our youth ministry should always be helping the growth of the church, not hurting it. We take a ton of safety precautions, and if anything could be questionable, we don't do it, or we ask first. It drives me crazy when I hear youth pastors say, "it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission.” That can get you fired and cause headaches for the church. It’s best to use wisdom and think about the big picture and what is best for the church.

This blog is by Chris Smith, Student Ministries Director at People’s Church.