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Challenges in Youth Ministry

This collection provides resources to overcome challenges in youth ministry and programs within a congregation.


8 Resources
web resource
Download Youth Ministry (DYM)
This website by veteran youth leaders provides timely and affordable resources across 20+...
Fuller Youth Institute
This innovative branch of Fuller Theological Seminary provides research-based articles,...
Praying Pelican Missions
This organization leads short-term mission trips for a variety of groups ranging from...
The Youth Cartel
This organization supports adults who minister to youth by providing youth ministry...
Youth Specialties
With 50+ years of youth ministry experience, this organization hosts the annual National Youth...
web resource
It's Just a Phase (So Don't Miss it): For Leaders Who Care about Kids at Every Life Stage
"Just a Phase" is a collaborative, research-based website that features contributions by a...
Sticky Faith Youth Worker Edition: Practical Ideas to Nurture Long-Term Faith in Teenagers
Based on research from Fuller Youth Institute, this series focuses on teens in the...
DOOR (Discover Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection)
This organization plans service trips to urban areas so teens can bond and learn about...

Guest Contributor

Mark Oestreicher

Mark Oestreicher of The Youth Cartel has been involved in church ministry his whole life, particularly with teenagers and youth workers. He led the Challenges in Youth Ministry workshop for the Center for Congregations in 2020.

Youth Ministry Programs

Congregation leaders can reach out to the younger generation through vibrant and thoughtful youth ministry programs. It can be challenging to set up a youth ministry program. When religious leaders embark on this endeavor, they can utilize the host of resources available out there for church leaders who are trying to set up youth program activities.

For example, it might be a good idea to invest in a ministry certification or youth leader certificate. These youth ministry degree programs are conferred on youth ministers who have completed exceptional levels of training which enables them to communicate effectively with children and teenagers.

When it comes to filling youth ministry jobs, it might be helpful to reach out to young adults who are interested in religious leadership. In order for youth ministry programs to be successful, they need good leaders who can relate effectively to members of the younger generation. Placing young adults in positions of leadership can help relate to the younger generation. It might also prove helpful to take a look at online resources. There are plenty of other religious leaders out there who may be experiencing these very same challenges. With this in mind, it might be a good idea to take a look at what they have done to address these concerns. That way, other church leaders can perhaps use them to help create their own youth ministry program.

Youth Ministry Ideas

In addition to challenges relating to the younger generation, a lot of religious groups have trouble creating fresh ideas that can help engage members of their youth. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available out there that can help religious leaders develop youth ministry ideas.

For instance, it might be a good idea to take a look at youth ministry games that can be performed outside. Even simple sporting events, such as kickball, dodgeball, soccer, and baseball, can serve to go a long way. The idea here is to break the ice and encourage people to get to know one another. Then, as part of the youth ministry curriculum, it is possible to start every sporting event with a devotional. That can prove to be a great way to tie it all back into the religious foundations of the youth ministry group. It might also be helpful to put a twist on the rules, incorporating verses from religious texts in some way.

It can also be helpful to take a closer look at youth indoor activities. For example, there are plenty of icebreakers that can be played indoors. “Two Truths and a Lie” can be a great way to help get people to get to know one another better. After this, it might then be a good idea to rotate prayer responsibilities among members of the youth ministry group. That way, everyone gets an opportunity to participate and potentially get in touch with their spirituality a bit more.

As the youth ministry groups begin to grow, it might be a good idea to encourage members of the youth ministry groups themselves to occupy positions of leadership. For instance, there may be some teenagers who are ready to lead a small group session. By encouraging them to get to know the religious texts just a little bit better, then, it might be possible to play a formative role in preparing the religious leaders of tomorrow. These are a few of the top ways in which religious leaders can serve to help encourage members of their youth ministry groups to get to know one another.

Youth Ministry Lessons

Naturally, at its core, youth ministry groups will likely need to be educational resources for members of the younger generation. That is where youth ministry lessons can be helpful. By taking a look at a church youth program outline, it might be possible for religious leaders to get a better feeling for some of the topics that they might want to cover. It might be a good idea to use a detailed youth program outline template to figure out how religious leaders should structure their educational lessons.

For those who are wondering about the top youth topics, there are several examples that may immediately come to mind. First, it may prove useful to cover topics that teach members of the younger generation to respect their elders. Unfortunately, a lot of adults can perhaps subscribe to the belief that children and teenagers today lack a lot of the discipline that prior generations held. By incorporating topics that teach children today to respect their elders, however, this issue can be directly addressed.

Next, it can also be a good idea to cover youth ministry lessons that teach members of the group how to get in touch with their spirituality on a daily basis. Naturally, a lot of people out there may say grace before they eat; however, are there other ways that people can live a spiritual life on a daily basis? This could involve things such as giving thanks for what they have, treating others the way they would like to be treated, and lending a helping hand to those in need. Being religious is something that perhaps shouldn’t be limited to simply saying grace before meals.

Finally, it is perhaps also good for youth ministry groups to try and cover the importance of forgiveness, as children are naturally going to feel like other people have wronged them, from time to time. Instead of holding a grudge, however, it is good for children to be taught to forgive. If they are, the world will likely be able to become a better place. These are perhaps a few of the key topics that can be covered during youth ministry sessions.

Youth Pastor Training

It is not exactly a secret that there are lots of religious leaders out there who may find themselves facing difficulty in relating to children today. That is why youth pastor training can be so helpful. There are plenty of youth ministry leadership training resources available for this very thing, however. For example, there are youth ministry certificate programs and youth ministry courses that religious leaders can take. This type of training can be helpful because it can oftentimes prove to be a challenge to relate to children. Children are not simply small adults, after all. Youth ministry leaders have to be able to relate to them in some way.

In addition to taking a youth leadership certificate program, there are also youth ministry school options available. A lot of people who would like to lead an entire church one day may in fact start out as youth ministers themselves. Those who have a desire to lead an entire church may want to take a more comprehensive educational curriculum, and that is why attending a school for youth ministers can be helpful. Furthermore, there are a lot of other topics that are typically covered in a comprehensive educational program that could otherwise be overlooked at a more cursory certificate program. These are a few of the resources available for those who would like to enroll in training programs to become youth ministers.

Church Youth Programs Activities

It can be good for religious leaders to think carefully about the church youth programs activities they are going to offer. There are lots of internal activities that can perhaps be considered critical for creating an effective youth ministry. A lot of ideas are available for youth ministry online resources, and so it might be helpful to look there, as well.

First, the foundation of every youth ministry program should perhaps be a sacred religious text itself. There are a lot of online resources that break up verses from religious texts into various categories. For example, there might be groups of verses that talk about forgiveness, whereas there may also be other groups of verses that talk about living a spiritual life. There might also be sections of verses that talk about treating others with respect. In these sorts of cases, it is possible to group these forces together, structure a lesson program around them, and then effectively communicate important points during church youth programs.

Furthermore, it can be a good idea to try and find ways to keep these lesson programs interactive. There will be a time for standing at the front of the room, writing on a dry erase board, and there will be other times when it can be helpful to play games, engage in arts and crafts, and get the children to speak to one another. There are plenty of resources online that can help people structure church youth groups around this idea, as well.

Youth Ministry Resources

Ultimately, there are plenty of youth ministry resources available. There is also a youth ministry handbook template available online. By exploring lots of youth ministry websites, it is possible for youth religious leaders to better get in touch with members of the younger generation today.

Those who are looking for a comprehensive list of resources will want to search the CRG. While some members of the younger generation may not typically be as interested in joining the church as their parents or grandparents may have been, there are still some ways in which it is possible to effectively communicate with children today. By taking a look at the lesson programs, resources, and leadership activities that are available on the CRG, it is possible for youth program leaders to develop an entire curriculum that will effectively communicate with children, teenagers, and young adults. After all, the younger generation can be seen as the foundation of the future of the church. Thus, it can prove to be important to encourage them to get involved.

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