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It’s the last day of the year! As you reflect and embrace all that God did in and through your ministry this year, the #ysblog went through and found the most popular blog posts from 2018. Wondering what the top posts were from 2018? Check them out!

5 Ideas For Transitioning Out

How We Read The Bible | Resource Preview

Four Digital Resources To Level Up Your Ministry

Five Questions About Teens and Digital Media | Fuller Youth Institute

Four Ways Sharing Your Story Transforms Your Ministry

The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done In Youth Ministry

Addiction: Finding A Way With Students

#YSBLOG had a great year! We look forward to a fantastic year of youth worker musings, resource shares, and partner posts. If you’re interested in sharing a post or writing for the YS Blog, feel free to email us at ys@youthspecialties.com and let us know. We are always looking for new, inventive, and experienced writers to help us inspire and connect with youth workers!

We hope you had a fantastic year of ministry and look forward to being your partner in youth ministry in the coming year. Thank you for being part of the YS family!

Forty years ago next summer I will have been in youth ministry for 40 years. Those of you who have been doing youth ministry for four days, four weeks, four months, or four years must think of that as an eternity. You might wonder, “What was it like to minister to kids when they were dressed in animal hides, didn’t have electricity, and were marrying at the age of 14????” Come on now. It wasn’t that long ago. Perhaps one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is just how fast time flies. It’s been a blink, for sure. Your blink will convince you of the same thing. Just wait.

Over the course of these forty years there have been plenty of opportunities and victories. There have also been more than enough challenges and seeming defeats. I hope I’ve done some things right. What I remember and ponder the most, however (for better or for worse), are the mistakes I’ve made. . . words, perceptions, assumptions, conclusions, actions, etc. I also hope that I’ve learned from these usually-self-inflicted difficult providences. I also hope that what lies ahead or even exists now for me is a bit of the wisdom that comes, they say, with age and experience.

Wisdom, I believe, teaches us what to value and not value. What pursuits are worthy and what pursuits are to be avoided. It puts things in perspective. . . teaching me to live by the biblical narrative rather than by the ever-changing and never-reliable cultural narrative when that cultural narrative reflects the spirit of the times rather than the Spirit of God. That said, I realize that early on I wasted a pretty good amount of time and energy. I trust that there’s been a swing away from that as time has passed.

These things are on my mind this morning since I’ve listened again to our latest Youth Culture Matters podcast. On this one, Duffy Robbins (one of the wisest men I know) co-hosts as we interview another wise sage. . . our friend Scott Gibson, who is a professor of preaching at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. Scott wrote a fantastic book, Should We Use Someone Else’s Sermon? Scott’s question is not only appropriate for pastors who are preaching and ministering in today’s cut-and-paste world, but for those of us in youth ministry who stand each week (several times, perhaps) in front of students to lead them into a deep understanding of what it means to come to and grow in faith.

So. . . from Scott’s podcast, my own experience, and the realities of youth ministry life and tendencies in today’s world, let me offer these brief thoughts on what youth ministry is not about. . .

  • Youth ministry is not about keeping kids busy.
  • Youth ministry to not about attracting kids to things that keep them busy.
  • Youth ministry is not about fun. . . although it can and must be enjoyable. Fun can’t be our #1 functional priority.
  • Youth ministry is not about keeping kids involved until they graduate from high school.
  • Youth ministry is not about filling a room.
  • Youth ministry is not about all young eyes on us.
  • Youth ministry is not about the ever-growing time-consuming pursuit of cultural relevance and cool.
  • Youth ministry is not about curating self, space, or experiences in order to become a kid-magnet.
  • Youth ministry is not about creating experiences that offer a few minutes of sneaking-in or throwning-in nuggets of truth with the hope that something might stick.

That’s certainly not exhaustive. But those things are clearly evidence of misplaced priorities that cause us to waste way-too-much valuable time on things that, in the long run, don’t matter. And I’m not sure any of us pursue these things intentionally. However, if you’re like me, an honest audit might reveal that functionally, this is what our ministry says is most important.

So. . . all that said. . . can I offer what I do think youth ministry should be about?

I am increasingly convinced as I read God’s Word, look at the pervasiveness of the compelling cultural narrative, and listen to kids, is that they need youth workers committed first and foremost to the relentless pursuit of their own spiritual depth. We can only lead to depth out of our own depth. Dig your well deep. . . and let God fill it. Know the Word. Study the Word. Teach the Word. Kids want it and need it. Teach and talk out of the passions God builds in you as a result of your own study. Develop and teach your own talks and studies.

Depth yields depth, life, maturity, and wisdom. Give that gift to your kids. In fact, give that gift to yourself.

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Guest Feature from Walt Mueller of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding. Walt Mueller has been a regular speaker and contributor at the National Youth Workers Convention for several decades.  Learn more about CPYU on their website.

Doing great youth ministry on social networks first requires a basic knowledge of social media platforms and which platforms are successful at reaching teenagers. A flourishing Facebook page probably won’t reach the youth of today and if you are still updating your MySpace page, you probably need to do some research before planning to connect with students. Social media is always changing and so are the platforms that teens frequent. New updates come out every day and new features can leave us overwhelmed when trying to keep up with the times. Here are some simple tips for conquering whatever social media platform you choose to use for your ministry.

Do Post Often. Give your followers something to follow and leave them expecting more. If they can go weeks or months without hearing from you, you probably aren’t connecting with them in a way that is going to be life changing. Create a social media strategy and stick to a schedule. Use your social media to encourage students to attend your services or listen to a short devotional. There is so much that you can post on social media. Be creative and use content that will leave your followers looking forward to your next post!

Don’t Be Too Private. Private pages in youth ministry can be great but they can also stunt your growth. Make sure that students can share the exciting scripture references, service reminders, and video messages with their friends. Make sure that your settings don’t hinder your students from being able to get the word out. If you are sharing something that connects with your students, they will be willing to share it with their own followers so make sure to be prepared!

Do Provide Biblical Content. The best blogs, Instagram influencers, and Youtube sensations have a target audience and use their content to reach that target audience. Your target audience is students and your content should be related to your ministry. Share scriptures, video devotionals, prayers, encouraging quotes, and other content on your social media. Fun and flashy content can be interesting material but students are also looking for something with substance. Don’t let the latest Instagram influencer be the only thing they see every day on social media, influence them to become more Christ like.

Don’t Do All the Work. The great thing about social media is that you can always get others involved. Ask your students and adults to send you content and photos for your accounts or schedule an Instagram takeover with one of your students or volunteers. You can also ask questions on your social media that will require responses from students. Ask them what their favorite part about your Wednesday nights were or what verse is encouraging them during finals week. Students want to feel like they are engaged and have a voice so don’t forget to factor them in when dreaming up what kind of content you would like to provide to students. This would be a great way to involve some of your student leaders in active ministry!

Do Provide a Next Step. Great social media posts don’t just attract people to a digital platform, they also provide a call to action. Make sure your social media posts invite students to a daily devotional journey, provide avenues for students to attend your weekly gatherings, or share with students a way to become more involved in your ministry. Use your social media platforms as a way for students to connect to your actual ministry. Always continue to invite students toward a next step in being involved in your ministry.

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Jen Willard is a full time youth pastor in Sherwood, AR where she lives with her husband, Bryan. Jen is a coffee snob, beach addict, and travel enthusiast who loves walking with teenagers toward Jesus! Find me on INSTAGRAM as @DUCKJD.

From all of us at the Youth Specialties family, we would like to wish you, your family, and your church a very Merry Christmas. As we celebrate God With Us, let us remember that deep in the hearts of everyone is a desire to belong and become part of God’s family. Let us usher in this fantastic season by proclaiming that message in Christ to youth, volunteers, and families around the world.

We thank you for your incredible presence and support of the ministry of Youth Specialties and hope and pray for a blessed 2019. We are excited to announce new and exciting things in store for Youth Specialties in the coming weeks and months!

Grace and peace be with you in Christ,

The Youth Specialties Family

One of my favorite resources for youth ministry is actually a book not specifically intended for youth ministry but for all ministries of the church. I am referring to the great work by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us.  The book is an overview of all things spiritual disciplines, and gives examples of how to practice each discipline.

I was introduced to this book during one of the first semesters of my time at seminary and it quickly became (and has remained) one of my favorite books of all time. What this book did for me was open my eyes to the many different types of spiritual disciplines that Christians have been practicing over the years. However, just because Christians have been practicing all of these practices, it did not mean that I was practicing them, or had even heard or thought of some of them. One of the most shocking realizations for me was my narrow understanding of prayer. Calhoun lays out seventeen different types of prayer, and I realized that I had only practiced two of those seventeen before then. I could not believe that despite growing up in the church, in a Christian home, (and even as a pastor’s kid), I had truly only practiced two out of these seventeen different types of prayer.

I believe all youth ministers agree that spiritual disciplines are an incredibly important part of a Christian’s life. Practicing spiritual disciplines is like working out. We train, practice, and lift weights so that we will grow, get faster, and get stronger. Spiritual disciplines are  even more important in the lives of the students in our ministries. If we believe that these middle and high school years are some of the most formational years of their lives, (not to mention these are also the years when so many of them are practicing constantly with band, orchestra, sports, etc.), why would we not also emphasize the need for discipline, practice, and spiritual growth in their lives as well? Thus, in my own ministry, I make it a point to highlight and intersperse spiritual disciplines, times to practice, and walk through them with students. I create a space during a retreat, or I focus one of our lessons around the idea, explain the discipline, and then give students the chance to actually practice it then and there.

This book has been a huge blessing in my own ministry and personal walk with the Lord. I have been able to easily and quickly get an overview of the many spiritual disciplines and practices.  I have been able to teach and practice things like visio divina, lectio divina, rule of life, examen, etc. I have been able to challenge the busyness of our culture with lessons and times set aside to focus on retreat, Sabbath, rest, slowing, simplicity, centering prayer, etc. And I have often used this in my meetings with my leaders as well. There have been many days where I am walking into a meeting after a really busy day of ministering and I need to take a couple minutes to slow down.  So, I grab this book on my way to the meeting and lead my leaders through an exercise like breath. As you can see, the book remains a blessing to my ministry.

This book is extremely helpful for all ministers and ministries. If you already focus on and challenge your students to practice spiritual disciplines, great.  This will be a fantastic supplemental resource for what you are already using. If you are not yet focusing on spiritual disciplines, this book is one that can help you get started and to hit the ground running. Regardless of where you are, or even what ministry you are involved in, I would argue that this book is an asset to anyone’s library and would be a great resource for your own spiritual life. It has been a fantastic resource to me and my own life and ministry with students.

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Wes Rasbury | wes@greenvilleoaks.org | Instgram: @wesraz

The holidays are pretty much in full swing! Thanksgiving is over and we are in the middle of  Christmas movies, Christmas trees, Christmas lights, hot chocolate, and the movie Elf. Most of you are most probably putting the finishing touch on planning that year end Christmas event that involves cookie decorating, Christmas themed dodgeball, and White Elephant gift exchanges.

You are also looking forward to letting your hair down and catching your breath as you take a short break from programming.  The Christmas season allows students and volunteers a time to enjoy a time of rest as well.  Even in the lull of “formal” programming, this is also an opportune time to engage students.

Just like summer, students are looking for things to do while they are out of school. If you aren’t strategic, you can miss out on an opportunity for you and your leaders to engage with students over the break. Below are some helpful ways myself and my leaders have found effective for engaging students over the holidays (be creative and mix things up and make them your own).

Go to the Movies

Christmas time is one of the best time to go to the movies. Some of the best movies come out around the holidays and this is a perfect opportunity to connect with students, grab lunch, and see the latest movie that has hit the theaters. If there isn’t a movie worth watching,  be creative and partner with a family who would be willing to open their home and get pizza, snacks, popcorn, and drinks for a Christmas movie marathon. This is an easy, laid back way to connect with students during the break.

Do a Service Project Together

What does your community need? How can you and your students meet that need? Students are eager to do something outside of themselves.  Get your students together to partner with a local organization and serve your community.  Set up a time and date and get out there and serve.

Go to Their Holiday Event

This is the time of year for winter sports games, Christmas choir concerts, band concerts, plays, etc. Keep up with what your students are doing.  You have no idea how valuable that is to a student when you show up for the events of their life. When they look into the stands or out into the audience and see their youth worker, it means the world to them. Figure out what your students are involved in and go to those events.  And, these outings can turn into a fun date night with your spouse when you couple them with a meal or coffee together (little romantice plug for married youth workers).

Be Creative

Lastly, be creative. You know your students, culture, and community. Use that knowledge as a tool to be creative with how you are going to engage students this holiday season. Maybe you open your auditorium and host a Fortnite or Smash Bros tournament.  Maybe you go to the park and put together some kind of Christmas themed tournament. So, this holiday season, use those creative juices to put something together that is easy to execute and will be an experience that students will remember for years to come.

Regardless of whether or not you do these things, the important thing is to engage this holiday season. Don’t miss out on the opportunity.

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Scott Keesee | scottkeesee@sandalschurch.com | Instgram: @scak_keesee

Pop culture tends to change at the speed of light. As soon as we begin to take hold of a rising trend, it begins to fade. Oh, you were finally getting the hang of the shoot? Too late. You’d better learn how to floss, and you might even be too late for that. Students are especially susceptible to pop culture trends. They tend to emulate influencers from all reaches of the media. The upsurge of social media has changed the game, and pop culture, forever.

With all of these different modes of input, trends rise and fall faster than ever. Very few have staying power, and it seems like it is always the trends that we love to hate that never seem to go away. If I had things my way, here are a few trends that I wish to be different in 2019:

We need fewer prequels/sequels/reboots, and more standalone movies

Yeah, this is not super-spiritual, but as pop culture goes, the only good movies that ever seem to be released are the 8th retelling of the origin of your favorite superhero, the 18th movie about really fast cars or a terribly predictable romcom. Kudos to the companies that have found a formula that works, but I long for movies where I enjoy a new, fresh story. It pains me to say this, but I have even grown tired of the old-guard of action heroes trying to hold onto their careers by blowing stuff up at 70 years old. It seems that the creativity of Hollywood is dwindling. We don’t all share opinions on what movies are good, but we probably all share the opinion that they should have never tried a sequel to Dumb and Dumber. Yet, there are movies every year that fall into this category. We are now faced with the third retelling of the story of the Grinch. Let the madness stop.

More Christians crossing over into the mainstream

This is a trend that I hope continues to grow. With artists such as Lecrae and Lauren Daigle recently being given opportunities to enter into the secular arenas, there seems to be a larger number of Christians in the secular world that are expressing their faith to their overwhelmingly secular audiences. Chance the Rapper, Tori Kelly, Chris Pratt and others are really beginning to speak out. What is interesting is that they are not speaking in generalities about God, but being explicit, invoking the name of Jesus, and speaking about the Bible as the Word of God.

The only problems come from the Christian community itself. We have made it very difficult for Christians to rise in influence, because at the first sign of any flaw, we turn on them. Lauren Diagle might be the most recent victim of Christian cannibalism in the aftermath of her interview with Ellen. No, we cannot allow the truth of God to take a backseat to culture, but we cannot attack the Christian influences that are elevated in the culture. The influencers of today promote so many trends that are harming our students. With celebrities such as Kanye West coming out with pseudo-religious lyrics, but promoting the use of pornography, even our Christian kids can end up impossibly confused on what is acceptable. I do not feel like I need to go into great detail, but think about some of the trends coming from those who have celebrity status (and millions of followers on YouTube and Instagram equal celebrity status), and it’s so disappointing what people choose to imitate.

Bring Back Strong Men

This is not just because I am a man, this one actually came up by talking with a female coworker. The strong character of men is being attacked by the feminizing of pop culture. This does not mean that there should be no strong female characters, because there is a definite need for that. The problem is that we, as a culture, cannot seem to find a balance. Women should feel bold and encouraged to do great things, but not at the cost of manhood. Being a strong man in our culture seems to be synonymous with abusive, or at the very least unappealing. If there is ever a pop culture moment that comes up on twitter, check the comments. Many times there will be a celebration of anything feminine, while there is a distaste for any accomplishment made by a heterosexual, strong male character. It is already difficult enough for boys to grow into Biblical manhood, and our culture is making it more difficult by the day.

What trends do you wish to be different in 2019?

In college I rock climbed quite frequently. There is more time for that sort of thing prior to a family and career. One bright Saturday my longtime friend Brian* and I decided to go climb some routes at Tennessee Wall near Chattanooga, TN. Known locally as T-Wall this beautiful cliff set in the Tennessee River Gorge offers grand vistas and legendary traditional routes that attract climbers from around the world. Near the end of a fantastic day of climbing, I was leading a moderately hard route while my close friend Brian belayed from below. I methodically placed one piece of protection into the rock after another paying little attention to my surroundings beyond the line I was climbing. I trusted my belayer who held the end of my rope and therefore my life in his hands. We communicated with one-word sentences without having to looking at each other. “Slack.” I would say as I continued up the cliff-face. “Thanks.” He replied. “Take.” I yelled after placing another piece of protection into the rock to secure the rope. “Thanks.” I heard from below.

One-word commands are the best way for a climbing team to communicate without an overabundance of “What did you say?” A team that is experienced with one another and knows each other can more accurately fulfill a one-word command like “Tension” with just the right amount of force. Trust between a climber and belayer is everything. As I neared the top of the cliff, I was able to hear a squirrel jumping from branch to branch in the trees at the top. But this was at the back of my mind as I focused all my effort on finishing the last few feet of the climb. It was not an easy route and as the leader I would need to build an anchor once I reached the top. Climbing is about pacing yourself to avoid using all your energy too early. It requires a lot of focus and it is easy to ignore what’s going on around you, which can be a major mistake.

Suddenly I heard a piercing crack! I knew something must have broken loose at the top of the cliff. I did what all climbers are trained to do when something falls from above and yelled at the top of my lungs, “Rock!” I pulled my body in tight to the cliff as I knew Brian would below. This is the safest spot as falling objects are most likely to bounce out away from the cliff-face. Out of the corner of my eye I saw not a rock, but a log bigger than any person go falling by me. My first thought was “God save us.” Next, I thought, “if Brian is hit, let him only be injured.” This was for his sake and mine because I knew, short of being killed, he would find a way to lower me to the bottom. He was my only way down! A split second after yelling “Rock” I heard a second crack. I looked down and saw a log 8 feet long and 8 to 10 inches in diameter right where Brian had been standing.

To my relief I saw he was not under it. I have no doubt God spared us that day. That experience also impressed on me the importance and value of trusting those with whom we venture outside. This trust becomes even more indispensable when we are responsible for leading others. It is no wonder Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs to preach the Gospel before leaving them with the Great Commission. They needed to trust not only him, but also one another. He could have sent them out individually and covered more territory. But he knew the value of companionship and trust. We are always more likely to succeed when we have both. The beauty is that by learning how to trust each other we also learn how to trust God more.

You must trust your fellow staff if you are to succeed in the mission of your group or organization. No church, outreach, club, or mission will be successful if the staff lacks trust. Here are several tips to grow trust among your staff.

The Interview. Use an interview process to filter out untrustworthy staff candidates before they even join the team. Ask a couple questions such as: How would you handle a situation if you were asked to do something you know is unethical but not illegal?” or “Would you report a dishonest co-worker to your manager?”

References. Be sure to actually check out any references they provide.

Probation Period. Give new staff some time to mingle and get to know current staff they will interact with regularly before making them permanent. Give them a trial period to ensure it’s a good fit for both of you.

Team Building. To build trust among your current staff, plan some staff only events. An afternoon filled with games and socializing is a good start. Tryout some classic team building games that encourage working together and get people out of their comfort zone just a little. Outdoor activities like an overnight camping trip are a great way to build interpersonal trust. A day spent learning to rock climb will build trust, guaranteed! Most importantly, make time to pray and worship together as a collective staff. Teams that pray together stay together.

A strong bond between staff will make for a great program. You may not have the best resources, biggest facilities, or coolest presentation, but if the social environment is positive then youth will want to be involved. And the social environment is set by the staff. So focus on building a quality team of people who trust each other. For other team building ideas and activities check out this article by U.S. NewsThe Best Team-Building Exercises” or the book 365 Low or No Cost Workplace Teambuilding Activities by John Peragine and Grace Hudgins.

*Names have been changed for privacy.

Written by David F. Garner. David is a youth ministry worker in Nashville, Tennessee and Web Publisher at www.outdoorlessons.com. He loves to use the outdoors as a medium for teaching Bible principles just as Jesus did. He has worked in youth ministry for over nine years and especially enjoys summer camp ministry.

I’ve had the privilege of being a part of a few wonderful student ministry teams. Teams where we enjoyed, cared for, and supported each other, both in and out of the ministry. We were on the same page with where we were headed and how we were going to get there. This togetherness made us more effective in serving students and enabled us to stick with it when things got difficult. In short, these teams had both relational and missional unity!

As ministry leaders, we want to cultivate teams likes this; teams that are unified in both relationships and in accomplishing the mission God has given us. Here are a few ideas on how we can build these kind of teams:

Because it’s already built into our spiritual DNA, believe unity is possible.  Unity is a spiritual reality established through the work of Christ. When talking about unifying Jews and Gentiles in the church, Paul says, “For he (Jesus) himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,… His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace….” (Eph. 2:14-15). If Jesus makes it possible for these two groups to be unified, he’s doing it for our teams too! Jesus has laid the spiritual foundation for unity in your ministry team.  Now this does not mean we just sit back and watch it happen. We need to be intentional in our efforts to make unity a practical reality. In the same letter Paul tells the Ephesians to “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). That’s where the next few steps come in.

Pray for unity.  Jesus must have known the difficulty we would have in staying unified because he prayed for us, the future church, “…that all of them may be one….” (John 17:20-21). We need to pray for unity in our teams as well. Try this: For the next thirty days, ask God to bring unity to your team. Then watch what He does!

Create relational moments for your team.  Building unity takes time together; time to get to know each other and to build trusting relationships. By serving together week in and week out, we often build relational unity. You can accelerate this process by creating opportunities to build spiritual friendships. Try dedicating 25% of each team meeting for relationship building through sharing and praying for personal needs, having snacks and social time, or playing some crazy group game (Yes, without the kids!). You could also have a team social event. One youth pastor I served with early in my youth ministry career hosted a Murder Mystery Night (a live version of the game Clue) where we all came dressed as assigned characters and followed the clues to figure out who the killer was. What fun we had! And as we laughed together, we also built relational unity. Team retreats also provide opportunities to build unity. Yes, busyness and budget limitations can make this difficult; but if you can pull it off, it is worth it!

Develop goals & plans together. Unity is about more than good relationships. It is built on a sense of shared mission and decision-making. When we are pursuing the same goals, goals that matter – reaching and discipling students – we can look past less important things that have the potential to divide us. As a leader, there is a temptation to take the “Moses on the Mountain” approach to leadership where God gives me, the leader, the vision and plan for the ministry. Then I deliver it to the team. The truth is, when people have a voice in the direction and decisions of the ministry, they have more ownership, commitment, and unity. The effective leader becomes a skillful facilitator, allowing God to work in the visioning and planning process, unifying the team around a shared mission and plan.

Size the team for unity. It is difficult to be unified when a group is too big. As a team member, I can know and feel relationally connected to only so many people. What’s the magic number? It may depend on the make-up of your church and community, but generally try to keep ministry teams to under 15-20 people. If the team grows larger, break the team into sub-teams where community and unity can be formed. So, you might go from one overall student ministry team to two teams, one for middle school and one for high school. Or you can divide the high school team into teams based around schools or ministry responsibilities. You will still work towards the unity of the overall ministry team; but relationally, unity efforts will be focused on the smaller groups of people who work more closely together week in and week out.

May God bless you and give you wisdom as you lead your teams towards unity in relationships and mission. Remember, this is His desire for His people. So, you’re pursuing an important goal!

One of the most difficult parts of a youth worker’s job tends to be recruiting volunteers, but it doesn’t have to be.  And, if we want to grow our ministry, we have to grow our volunteer base. Many of us, myself included, often wish we could do it ourselves or clone ourselves to be the leaders we need.  However, a better and healthier ministry invites others around the table. I heard it said, “The more of your ministry you are willing to give away, the more it will continue to grow.” If we want to give ministry away, we have to recruit more volunteers.

In my time as a youth worker, I have tried and failed at a lot of recruiting strategies.  This may sound crazy, but the one strategy that has proven to be most successful is when I simply ask others to be involved. If people tell me that they cannot recruit anyone to help in their ministry, my first question I ask is, “Who have you asked to be involved in your youth ministry?” Here are some reasons why personally asking people to be involved in your ministry works:

They see the need. If you try to announce from the front stage, or through social media that help is needed, people expect that others will sign-up to help. On the other hand, if you go up to them and let them know the kind of help you need, that person will be more apt to join the team. In my experience of recruiting volunteers, when I ask them face-to-face, way more people have said yes to helping than no.

It shows that they are valued. When you personally ask someone that you would like for them to be involved in the youth ministry, it shows them that they are valued before they even begin. Out of all the people you could choose from, you chose them. People love to feel valued.  If you ask someone to serve, it shows that you think they, out of all the people around, can make a difference in a student’s life.

You don’t have to do it alone. The good news is that you can use the leaders already involved in your youth ministry to help. We never have to recruit by ourselves. Ask them to ask people to serve in the youth ministry.

The power of  the personal approach to recruiting volunteers is a game changer when it comes to growing your ministry. It has changed how I recruit volunteers and an effective way to gain new leaders for your ministry.

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