Your first year of youth ministry can surprise you – it can go beyond expectations and become more than what had been planned, or it can end up being the other way around. Regardless of what the outcome looks like, the first few years of your youth ministry will always be foundational – you’re setting the groundwork for what is to come in the future.
Here are three things to establish in the first year of your youth ministry:
1. Establish a Healthy Team
The reality is, you’ll never be able to start up and maintain a flourishing youth ministry on your own. You won’t be able to lead worship, set up the stage, preach, welcome new students and disciple everyone that comes through your doors all by yourself.
You need to build a strong, diverse and healthy team that can help carry the youth ministry with you.
Create a team that carries the culture with you. Your team needs to be passionate and sold out to the youth and to building the youth ministry.
You’ll know that you have a strong and healthy team if you can trust them. You need to be able to rely on them without having to micro-manage. A healthy team runs just as effectively even if you’re not there.
2. Establish a Discipleship Culture and Method
If you’re not discipling young people, doing the journey with them and helping them develop, then what’s the point of starting a youth ministry?
Having a culture of discipleship and a method for discipleship to be outworked is key.
At Hillsong Church, we have what’s called Radical Discipleship Groups (RDGs), which are small groups for young people. There are a lot of different ways you can create small groups (boys and girls specific, year-based, location-based, etc), but you will need to decide what works for your youth ministry.
3. Establish the Non-Negotiables
What are the non-negotiables in your youth ministry? What are the things that are important to you as a leader and to the leadership of your church? What are the things where you expect consistency?
Whether it’s RDGs or Sunday services, you need to establish what your non-negotiables are. If you and your team aren’t consistent in whatever these non-negotiables are, then the youth aren’t going to be consistent in these either. Identify the culture and habits that you want to see within the youth ministry, and keep your team accountable to these.
At the end of the day, your first year doesn’t necessarily indicate the future of your youth ministry. Look at your first year as setting the foundations for the future. Establish what is important, and keep building this as you progress forwards.
This thought was originally shared during a webinar on ‘Starting a Youth Ministry’ hosted by Mikey & Julia Wann during ‘Online Open Week’ in September 2016. This is your opportunity to receive impartation and training direct from the Hillsong team through live webinars.
If you would like to watch the full recording or find out more about future events from the Hillsong Leadership Network, click below.