Personal Ministries Resources

10 Ways to Involve Young People

by Gilbert Cangy & the SPD Youth Ministry Team

1. Account for youth
Make sure the church accounts for every young person in your congregation. If one is absent even for a Sabbath, make a point of letting that person know that s/he was missed and the church was not the same. Establish plans where every young person receives a phone call from a church leader on special occasions such as birthdays, completion of primary or secondary school or some other success.

2. Accept youth
Recognise that not all young people in your church have made a personal commitment to be a "forever friend" of Jesus. Attract them to Him by your caring and accepting interest and loving attitudes. Let them know how pleased you are that they are present at worship. Love them into the kingdom. Remember outward appearances are superficial, so try to get to matters of the heart.

3. Give responsibility
Assign church responsibilities to youth. Involve them in the life of the church. Trust them with these roles, gently mentoring and coaching them. They need the affirming support of adults who are interested in them and who care.

4. Listen
Adolescence and early adulthood is a developing time with rapid changes physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Be patient and be there to provide a safe and confidential environment, enabling them to talk about issues that are of importance to them.

5. Share the facilities
Provide a room in your church facilities that youth can call their own. Give them freedom to set it up. Pain, and decorate it. Let it become a place they recognise as their own and where they can "hang out."

6. Build leadership
Involve youth in the decision-making processes of the church. Be sure to consult them on any issue or decision that will affect them. Expect them to contribute in setting goals and objectives for your church. Prepare them for leadership.

7. Adopt a youth
Most inter-generational misunderstandings are fuelled by lack of communication and ignorance. Consider adopting a young person who does not belong to your biological family. Pray for that person, invite him/her for meals. Encourage, challenge debate and defend when necessary. Get to really know him/her and make a commitment to do all you can to see that young person in the kingdom.

8. Give youth a challenge
Challenge youth to make a short-term service commitment for a project and facilitate the process. Become aware of service opportunities in needy communities, in the outback and overseas. Volunteer projects are often life-transforming events. On their return, muster their energies to serve the community on a regular basis.

9. Educate yourself
Make every effort to understand today's youth culture and the powerful forces of music and media that are shaping their values. They will respect you for taking the time to explore their world. Understand how best to preserve the integrity of our message and how to communicate it in relevant ways, forms and language that our rapidly changing culture can readily grasp. Make the distinction between the timeless, unchangeable non-negotiable principles of God's Word and the culturally bound expressions of those same principles.

10. Enjoy your church family
If you genuinely enjoy the fellowship of His family, you make church attractive to youth. Churches that play together, stay together. The spiritual life has its challenges, but it offers joy in abundance. Celebrate it! Have fun in the church family and let Christian love abound and flow freely.

Pray that the Holy Spirit will pour His love into our hearts so that we might see young people the way the Creator and Saviour sees them. As you lift Jesus up young people will be drawn to Him.