By Jay Barbier
Youth Specialist, TBMB
School is back in session, whether from home or in the classroom. Football schedules have been finalized, cheerleaders are prepping for the games, School bands are filling the parking lots to prepare for “Friday Night Lights”!
What does all this mean to us as youth ministers? This means we have an opportunity to do ministry!
Many of us have been isolated and even limited in what we can do for youth. Now is the chance to prepare for the fall!
In fact, you can even go ahead and get a great plan and strategy for 2021 if you want.
As I survey youth ministry across Tennessee and our country, I’m seeing some great success.
Please do not sit waiting on the old normal to come back around. This could lead us to doing what we have always done and possibly miss great ministry in front of us.
Look for ways to serve your community. Check in on your local schools and ask what you can do to help serve them.
Here are three areas of focus you can start working on to do youth ministry now:
• Take time to develop a plan for your leadership. This could be adults that volunteer in your ministry or raising up a few students — or a lot of them — to do the work of the ministry.
The Bible commands us as leaders to train and raise up followers of Christ to do the work of ministry. When this happens, we can see multiplication within our groups.
My seminary professor would remind us often that for every adult or leader we pour into, five more students will be cared for.
Give your volunteers specific jobs within your youth ministry. Here are a few examples: social media, welcome area, decision counseling, contacts, small group leaders, mentors, event organizers … this list could go on and on.
The important thing for you to do is give ministry away and watch volunteers take the lead. Guess what? Students can have leadership roles as well with supervision and mentoring. Can you imagine what will happen when we let others lead? This is discipleship.
• Another great opportunity we have is to stay in contact with our students. Make home visits, go to their games and recitals, take students out to eat, and hang out with youth.
Stay present with your group. It does not matter what you haven’t done or what you’ve forgotten about.
Call them, send individual texts or small group messages, email. Remember the important thing to do is communicate with them.
Make sure they are aware if you have sermons or Bible Studies online, events coming up, anything — remind them. Students need your influence and your leaders’ care in their lives.
• Honestly, one of the greatest areas we can really invest in should be the parents or care takers! What are you doing right now to help make the parents the lead disciple maker? This step can be very easy. Equip your parents to have worship times at home or Bible study discussions from what is being taught from your small groups or any gatherings you have.
Make this very practical and easy to understand. Most families do not do anything outside of attending church; give them opportunities to lead well with their children. Teach them how to do this. This is discipleship!
Youth ministry is more than having a Wednesday gathering. Youth ministry is making disciples of the next generation that are here now. If we invest in our students, leaders, and parents, we can change the world with the gospel!