What is the culture of your youth ministry? Think about it for a second…
Maybe a whole bunch of different words flashed through your mind. ‘Values’ you listed on a flipchart a couple years ago. Perhaps memories of special moments you’re particularly proud of.
So what is the culture are you creating in your youth ministry? Even though I may not know you, have never been to any of your meetings or met your team before… I actually do know the culture you are creating in your youth ministry.
The culture that you are creating is… the culture that you allow. Boom! I know!
If you do not set the culture of your youth ministry, it will be set for you. If we are not deliberately creating and building Kingdom culture, our youth ministry can easily adopt the existing cultures of the society in which we live – which may not necessarily always be the healthiest ones.
Here are four cultures that our leaders are intentional about creating in Hillsong Youth:
1. “Come as you are”
With so many options available for teenagers, it’s important that as a youth ministry, we commit to creating a culture where young people can come as they are. Regardless of what problems they’re facing at school or at home, and regardless of where they’ve been or what they’ve done, they can find a place where they are accepted and loved.
Be intentional about creating a culture of acceptance, a culture where young people can walk in from wherever and can simply be themselves.
In a world where people focus on tearing others down, let’s be a youth ministry where we are building people up. In the midst of bullying and negative peer pressure, let’s create a culture where young people are valued and empowered.
Young people want to be believed in and to be encouraged. As a youth ministry, what are we doing to actively encourage young people to be the best that they can be?
3. Knowing the ‘WHY’
Be intentional with everything that you do in your youth ministry. It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing things for the sake of doing things, or because the other church down the road are doing them. Although it’s absolutely fine to be inspired and copy what other ministries are doing, ensure you understand why it’s necessary and important for your youth ministry.
When people know why you do what you do, they can lean in and own it with even more conviction. You have a limited time with your youth every week, so make every moment count.
Youth ministry is supposed to be fun. Preaching the Bible, teaching Jesus and praying for people is obviously very important, but just because you’re doing those things in your program doesn’t mean you can’t also have an absolutely crazy time too. Being biblical and having fun can always go hand-in-hand.
Let’s create a culture where we have fun, have some laughs and have a good time – but also keep it all about Jesus.
We work hard to ensure that these cultures are present in our youth ministry. How do we do this? We communicate it to our team in our leaders meetings and Connect Groups, we hold each other accountable, and ultimately we be the culture.
At the end of the day, you get what you allow. So if you are not intentional with setting the culture of your youth ministry, your youth ministry might end up adopting a completely different culture to what you intended. We can be the culture creators. What cultures are you creating in your youth ministry?
This thought was originally shared during a Youth Ministry training session hosted by Pete & Laura Toggs and our Hillsong Youth team during our ‘Online Open Week’ in February 2016. Online Open Week 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.