9 Priorities in Starting a Youth Ministry (Part 1)
Starting a Youth Ministry
This series is going to focus on the things required, whether a rookie or a veteran, to start a healthy youth ministry. Some of these are rather simple, yet others are rather complex. This 3 part series will help us understand what goes into developing a youth ministry model.
Culture of Your Area
Every Church has its own culture. Every church is in a region that has its own culture. When moving into a church context, you are also (most likely) moving into a different regional context. For instance answer this question: “We are headed to the city” What city comes to mind? Growing up it was NYC, when I moved to Maine, it was Portland, Here in Lakewood, it means Littleton. Culture has several aspects that you need to pay attention to, briefly these include: Worldview, Cognitive Process, Linguistics (way words are used), Behavioral patterns (how you should act), Social Structures (how you act with each other), Media influences, and motivational resources and sources (what is the ethic of the area, what creates change). Looking at these
Creating culture is all about value. As the leader of the ministry its shown in what you do and how you communicate. Being a leader, you need to build your ministry in a way where your results are consistent with your calling and vision. In moving towards your goal, how you meet with, interact with (what kind of jokes are funny and which aren’t) are all things that you have direct input into. Sometimes you will need to step in to stop behaviors, other times you need to move to create an atmosphere where a behavior becomes normal.
A subset of Culture, community is how you build your sense of belonging into the group and help the group feel they belong to each other. Is your office a welcoming space for people to come in, or is it so cluttered that nobody dare enter? Do you have an open calendar/office policy or do people need to set appointments weeks in advance. Do you hold open gym time? Do you meet people at random places to meet when they can (McDonald’s, Panera, etc).
What is the form of the organization you are in? What theory or philosophy of ministry was in place (if any) and where can you go with this philosophy. Understanding there are many good philosophies out there is one thing, understanding how to use it is another. What parts can you keep and what needs to be cast aside. Change is difficult and your ‘honeymoon period’ may be an excellent place to build this ministry or move past a ‘sacred cow.’ Keep in mind some sacred cows are harmless, some aren’t, take the time to discern which is which.