FREE Webinar: Foundations of Youth Ministry
Brian Aaby, our Director of YS SEARCH & YS COACHING, led a FREE webinar on Exploring the Foundations of Youth Ministry with YS Coaches Summer Sipes and David Fraze, and a handful of other incredible youth workers. This webinar is a really helpful resource for any youth worker who is in their first 3 years of youth ministry, or anyone wanting to revisit some of these core foundations of successful youth ministry.
If you don’t have time to watch the full webinar, here are 3 big ideas that I took from the conversation:
Ask 3 Important Questions Before Developing Programming
- What are our needs?
- What is the context?
- What resources do we have available?
These three questions create the formula for creating a sustainable foundation for our youth ministry programming. Knowing the answers to each of these will help us make sure that we’re spending our time, energy, and resources on programming that is the best fit for our context and the needs of our students and families.
Sustainable youth ministry requires an ongoing investment in relationships with students, leaders, and parents.
For students, focus your energy making sure they feel valued and that they know you are for them. Some of the best ways to communicate that are also the most basic, like sending them cards when they are missed, on their birthdays, or during really important seasons in their life. Those things remind students that you continue to love and care for them all year round.
For leaders, spend time training them how to show Christ to students and embody the mission of the ministry. An effective team of leaders will help you multiply the impact of the ministry, reaching more students and families than you ever could on your own.
For parents, make yourself as available to them as you are to their teenagers. Not every parent will be involved with your ministry, but if you respond to them and are available when they need you, it will speak volumes.
Everyone has their own preferred method of communication and they expect you to use it. If they prefer text, they want you to text. If they prefer mail, they want you to mail. It’s important to over communicate so that you can teach parents and students the rhythms of the year. A good rule is to always utilize 7-10 forms of communication, such as:
- Phone calls
- Announcements in church services
- Face-to-face over coffee
- Focus group discussions
- Parent-night or parent meetings once a quarter
- Announcement slides around the church
- Quarterly calendars
One key thought that I had while we were in the midst of this conversation is how important it is to do ministry alongside other like-minded people. There is an incredible value to getting together, sharing your perspective, and learning from others, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m excited for what Brian, Summer, and Dave are creating in the YS 101 Collaborative.
The YS 101 Collaborative is a resource designed to encourage and challenge you in your ministry. It’s created specifically for new youth pastors, those in new roles, or anyone wanting a refresher on youth ministry basics. You’ll engage in active coaching sessions with experienced youth workers and learn alongside peers who can relate to your ministry needs. The YS 101 Collaborative kicks off with a retreat in Dallas, TX on April 24-25, 2017 and concludes on November 15-16, which is right before the National Youth Workers Convention in Memphis Nov 16-19. NYWC is included for FREE for collaborative participants! Find out more information and apply online today!
JACOB ECKEBERGER is the Content Manager at Youth Specialties, an itinerant worship leader, the spouse of a church planter, and a long time volunteer youth worker. You can find him blogging about social media and digital strategy ideas at JACOBECKEBERGER.COM.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.