Seven Practices of Healthy Youth Ministry

Connecting pragmatic research with realistic practices to help you care for youth in your church.

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Introduction to the Seven Practices

Create a healthy youth ministry

Discover the key components of successful youth ministry with Seven Practices of Healthy Youth Ministry. Backed by scripture, research, and real-world experience, this resource offers practical guidance and discussion tools for leaders at every level.

Congregations Have:

Warmth, Challenge and Grace

  • Congregations foster an open and honest environment where youth share joys, questions, crisis, and doubt knowing God’s Word will be spoken in love.
  • Congregations share personal stories of failure, grace and joy.
  • Congregations are willing to engage in tough spiritual conversations.
  • Congregations have a dedicated, developmentally appropriate space for youth where they grow as disciples with their peers.

Supportive Adults

  • Supportive congregations seek to connect every youth with at least 5 engaged Christian adults.
  • Supportive adults deliberately invest and value long-term, inter-generational relationships.
  • Supportive adults prepare for and respond to celebration, transitions and crisis.
  • Supportive congregations have adults who champion young people and dedicate time and energy to developing teens as disciples of Jesus Christ for life.

Engaged Parents

  • Engaged parents prioritize faith development by encouraging daily faith practices especially during times of transition.
  • Engaged parents invest in the lives of their children by understanding their children’s vocation and the culture around them.
  • Engaged parents participate in worship, personal spiritual practices, and service.
  • Supportive congregations provide parents encouragement and support from other Christian adults.

Opportunities to Serve and Lead

  • Congregations identify gifts and skills in youth that can be used in service, leadership and vocation inside and outside the church.
  • Congregations invest in youth by providing consistent opportunities for meaningful contributions.
  • Congregations engage and support youth for service inside the congregation, in the community and beyond.
  • Congregations empower young people to be load bearing leaders by providing training, mentors, and space to learn.

Congregations Help All Young People:

Deeply Understand Their Baptismal Faith

  • Youth live as forgiven sinners with the promise of eternal life through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
  • Youth recognize the work of the Holy Spirit who brought them to faith, gathered them into God’s family, and works through them.
  • Youth regularly worship, study the living and active Word of God, pray together, and receive the Lord’s Supper.
  • Youth are provided with deliberate age specific opportunities to move toward key outcomes for young Lutheran Christians (Examples are outlined in Youth Ministry Teaching End Goals.)

Live Out Their Unique Vocation

  • Youth understand their role as Christ’s hands and feet in their church, home, community, and other areas of vocation.
  • Youth reach out to their neighbor in word and deed to love and share the Good News of Jesus.
  • Youth serve and lead in their congregation and community.
  • Youth seek to be warm, challenging and grace-filled to their community and peers.
  • Youth are encouraged to pursue church work vocations as it fits their gifts and skills.

Youth Ministry Teaching End Goals

Teaching End Goals are 40 statements we pray teens know and personalize by the time they graduate from high school. As youth ministry teaches from Scripture and the Catechism teens will better understand these key tenets of their Baptismal faith.

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