Supporting Our Youth

6 Ways We Can Help Our Youth Succeed

Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you want a strong youth ministry in your assembly, you have to support them.  We may not always understand or agree with new methods of ministry, but support is vital if we want the Church to grow.

support-our-youth

We often want the success (ie. YCNL with 2000+ youth attending), but it doesn’t start with success.  It starts with supporting our youth ministries and supporting the journey before and after the special events and moments of success. That might sound obvious, but I’m not sure if we all actually do it well.

The Youth Pastor is my wife…

I have the privilege of being married to the Youth Pastor.  That privilege can also be quite the challenge.  I’m in the role of Lead Pastor, which means I’m the husband and, on paper, the leader of my wife. I have to be supportive and fair at the same time.

We recently found ourselves in a “communication casualty.”  Long story short, I had to apologize and ensured her that I would take the fall.  I did that, not because I’m her husband or her Lead Pastor, but because I’m both and my support will directly impact our relationship and our youth ministry.

I wish it was always that easy.  Truth be told, we find ourselves experiencing a “communication casualty” more often than we should.

But it did get me thinking.  How can we make sure we are supporting our youth?  I’ve come up with six ways, but I’m sure you can add to it as well!  Help us all out and comment below with ways you’ve supported your local youth ministry.

1. Value Our Youth With Action

When I was a teenager, there were times when the youth were “blamed” every time damage was found in church building.  “I’d say the youth broke that…”  Unfortunately, that led to a “new rule” to ensure it never happened again.  Did I feel valued? Not exactly.

If we value our #youth, let them make a mess, make them clean it up, & let them do it again! Click To Tweet Our church community (Bethel) just finished putting together our “values.”  What I found so encouraging was that NO ONE mentioned “our building” on that list of values, but DID mentioned “our youth” several times.  So, if we value our youth, let them make a mess on the carpet, make them clean it up, and let them do it again!   We have to respect the building, but, more importantly, we need to ensure we value our youth before the “carpet”.

2. Provide Financial Support

We shouldn’t need to receive something in order to #give something. #youth #support Click To Tweet Make a “no strings attached” donation to the youth group.  I’m not a fan of fundraising within the church.  I don’t mind fundraising outside the church, but not inside the Church. We shouldn’t need to receive something in order to give something.  If we want to financially support our youth, the only reward we really need is watching them grow in their spiritual journey.

3. Pray for Our Youth

Life up our youth in #prayer...prayer works! #youthmin #support Click To Tweet Our youth are in the middle of some of the biggest life-changing moments of their lives and our leaders are attempting to help them through those moments.  They need our prayer.  What we can’t afford, are empty prayers.  If we truly want to lift up our youth in prayer, we need to ask for a list of names and/or specific ministries to pray for.  Prayer works!

4. Ask How You Can Help

If we ask our Youth Leaders how we can help, I promise we will brighten their day.  They may have to get back to us, but they will get back to us with something!  At the end of the day, what we think is “nothing” could be the very thing that our leaders struggle with.

5. Selflessly Volunteer

We need to be willing to lose out...so that our youth experience God for themselves. #youthmin Click To Tweet It’s one thing to simply volunteer because youth ministry is fun (ie. YC).  It’s another thing to volunteer with a serving mentality.  The difference is WHY we’re present.  Servanthood is when we are serving others, not ourselves.  It means we volunteer to ensure our youth have the best experience possible.  We need to be willing to lose out on our experience so that our youth experience God for themselves.  That doesn’t mean we stop growing, that means we find another time and space to personally grow.  We need to learn to selflessly serve.

6. Support our Youth Pastors/Leaders

Whether they’re paid or unpaid, they need our full support.  That might mean simply thanking them and letting them know they’re doing a great job, to sacrificially sponsoring events like YC or Youth Camp so it costs less for teenagers to go, to keeping the youth group in mind when you’re upgrading your couch set (every youth leader wishes they had a “youth hangout area!”) Do something to show your support!

Your turn…

How will you support your youth?  Have I missed a great way to support our youth?   Comment below with an example…


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Imagine the Potential, our Passion & God’s Plan…

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Imagine with me for a moment.  Imagine a conference that is more than a conference.  Imagine children and youth leaders desiring to be more effective.  Imagine worship that humbly points to God.  Imagine challenging and powerful leadership insights inspired by God’s Word.  On April 26-28 of 2013, 300 next generation leaders didn’t have to imagine, we experienced Newfoundland’s very own Next Generation Leadership Conference.  This year, we were encouraged to IMAGINE the potential, our passion and God’s plan.

Photo: Stephen Andrews

The weekend was held together by this verse: “[God], who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”[i]

Imagine the potential…

Sam Luce, children’s pastor of Redeemer Church in Utica, NY[ii], started the conference out by outlining a few things every leader needs to get right.  In summary: a good leader delegates, is humble and eager to serve, connects where necessary, and is priority and value driven, while always understanding that God is enough!  Imagine the potential if we all possessed those attributes.

Dan Bursey, a family entertainer and Compassion advocate[iii], also challenged attendees by sharing how everyone has the potential of changing the world of poverty.  By sponsoring one child at a time, hopeless situations can change into hopeful ones.  Imagine the potential if we all became advocates of fixing world hunger.

Imagine our passion…

On Saturday morning, Paul Robertson of Youth Unlimited[iv], talked about the culture of today’s youth.  He looked at Paul’s passion in Acts 17:16-23.  Paul had a sense of concern, responsibility and gratitude, but remained respectful.  Robertson suggested that we can do the same by listening before speaking, because there’s a generation waiting to be heard.  Imagine if we were all passionate about listening.

That night, Dr. Marv Penner[v], talked about who leaders are.  There are times when we think we have enough strength to lead on our own; however, if we don’t make sure God is at the centre of our passion, then we will eventually fill the void with pride.  Imagine if we were a generation of leaders who were passionate about God being at the core of our leadership, not ourselves.

But it wasn’t all talking.  Melina Dulluku, worship leader at Highway Gospel Church in Scarborough, ON[vi], led us into worship during the conference.  There were a number of amazing moments of worship, including a time when everyone spontaneously started singing “10 Thousand Reasons” before she started singing herself.  Imagine the passion of pure and humble worship.

Imagine God’s plan…

“Imagine a generation where God is priority #1,” is what Natalie Rogge[vii] opened with Sunday morning.  She wanted leaders to know that there is a journey ahead.  It’s called God’s plan, and leaders need to remember: when we feel surrounded, we need to seek God, take a stand, see how God will pull us through, and sing joyfully.  Imagine if we all sought to understand God’s plan, rather than their own.

The IMAGINE theme continued throughout the entire weekend.  From the humorous interludes to every workshop, “imagining what God can do” continued to be the focus.  There is unimaginable POTENTIAL with God when we turn over the PASSION He has equipped us with so that He can be the center of the PLAN.

Just imagine.

 


[i] Eph. 3:20-21, NIV.

[ii] samluce.com

[iii] danbursey.com; compassion.ca

[iv] paulrobertson.ca

[v] http://www.cpyu.org/Page.aspx?id=324630

[vi] melina-d.ca

[vii] newlifemilton.com

** Photo taken by Stephen Andrews http://500px.com/stephentcandrews