Oh, the “Why” questions of life?

  • Why do ants never get sick? – Because they have little antibodies!
  • Why don’t seagulls live by the bay? Because then they would be bagels!
  • Why don’t helicopters fly in the morning? Twirly?
  • Why are you volunteering in youth ministry? …. And the answer is?

Why ARE you volunteering in Youth Ministry?

  • Pastor asked me to!
  • My child is involved!
  • I love kids!
  • No one else would do it!
  • Something else altogether!

Answering this “Why” question for your ministry can become the basis for a foundation you lay as you approach the task the Lord has placed before you.  “Why” are you doing, (or thinking) about doing youth ministry in your congregation?  As you explore and pray about that question perhaps you can take the opportunity to place the question itself before the Lord – God, why do you want me helping in youth ministry, at this time, in this place?  As you ask that question, realize that He wants to be intimately involved in your life, and that He will work through you with purpose at this particular time and place in your life.

As you open up your heart to hear God’s answer, be ready to move forward, praying for wisdom as His servant, to His children.   God is placing before you the awesome opportunity to be a witness to His Word, and to the students and families in your congregation that need to hear it. As you start to care for the young people of your congregations, thinking about your why is critical to keeping you going for the long haul.

The next question is a bit harder. As I start to in youth ministry – How to Get Started?

Some of the best volunteers I have ever worked with have taken it upon themselves to get to know the kids and families as soon as they can!  It’s all about relationships!  Christ modeled this concept throughout His ministry with His disciples, those He ministered to, and as He preached.  If you feel the Lord is leading to youth ministry, here are some key steps to take moving forward.

1. Activating yourselves by not waiting for the youth, but rather, intentionally going up to them at the first meeting, or even in the Narthex after church, invite them to the first meeting and introduce yourself to them and their families.  Have some good questions ready to go and then be ready to respond and actively follow up with questions that apply to what they have shared. But be real! If your interest in them is artificial, students will see that and read right through it.

2. Your students are your first priority!  At your first several meetings take the time to utilize some icebreaker and fun activities for you to grow together with them, and them with each other.  Some great examples of this can be found on Youtube – “Ultimate Camp Resources.” These activities can provide a lot of laughs and at the same time help bring the group together.

3. Bible Study or Devotions at the first few meetings should be short but meaningful to the students. Finding material that is applicable to the new school year is a great place to start. YouthESource provides a variety of great resources to utilize in this area.  Spend a few dollars and buy some notebooks and ask them to journal Bible verses, and what they notice God is saying to them.  Not all will do it, but if a few do commit, invite them to the next meeting 30 minutes early to share what’s on their hearts and minds.  It may start slow, but they will open up as you set the example.

4. Youth ministry takes time and preparation! If you commit the time and energy, healthy youth ministry can develop. But you still must set good boundaries! Do not neglect your own family or your relationship with your Lord.  As God has called you to this new area of ministry, take the opportunity to use it to grow yourself.  In preparing a study or devotion, I know that I grow much more in my personal walk than what I share.

5. Have fun!  Laugh and allow the youth to see how much you enjoy being with them.  Enjoy building relationships with their parents and families.

I must admit as I close out this article, I am not a volunteer in youth ministry, but after 40+ years I am proud to say that I have been blessed to work with some of the greatest volunteers one could partner with as brothers and sisters in faith.   So, get ready for an awesome ride!

So, what have I discovered is my “Why” in Ministry?  “God has a need for me”.

And He has a need for you as well!  May you serve the Lord with gladness as you grow in Him!