Joseph Iregbu

Purpose Guy

How To Be Awesome In Youth Ministry

“Is the church doing enough to engage young people?”

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Recently, I posted a question on my blog: “Is the Church Doing Enough to Engage Young People?”

The general consensus was “Not Enough”. In my previous post, I asserted that youth integration is a challenge for many churches today. With young people seeking identity and many churches pursuing significance, the gap continues to widen.

I do not propose to have all the answers or a magic formula. However, in my experience of coaching young leaders, setting up youth ministries and inspiring young people, a number of key ingredients cannot be ignored.

These are crucial to building a successful youth ministry. These are my ‘How to be Awesome’ core ingredients. I shared these key points at a leadership conference recently. In this post, I will look at 5 and conclude it next week:

Preach Christ! Don’t preach activities or social engagement. Activities have their place in youth engagement (which I genuinely support) but your key message must be Christ. If you water this down, your social engagement will lack purpose, foundation and relevance. The same goes for Bible Education – do not ignore that either.

Adapt! Many largely traditional churches struggle with adaptation, hence limit (or even lose) their impact as a result. Change your service structure, if necessary. Routine kills dynamism. Maintain your core biblical values and make your bible doctrines bold but please be dynamic in your delivery.

Package Well! You can hardly sell products without appeal. Apple leads like no one else in product appeal. The church can learn a thing or two from them. The gospel is appealing – that’s why it’s called GOOD NEWS. 

Remove Impediments! For goodness sake, do not become an impediment yourself. Don’t prevent young people from experiencing God. Some adults weave in too much of themselves and want to become the centre of focus. No, Christ is. Get out of the way, if you are blocking.

Talk is Cheap. ACT! Anyone can talk but only few act what they say. And this is no different in youth ministry. Young people want to see you move in the direction you point them to. If you inspire them to become involved in a community project, lead that project (or show leadership visibly in another way). ACT YOU MUST. 

This is my first 5. Next week, we will conclude. I strongly believe these are core building blocks for winning young people (salvation) and winning them through (excellence, inspiration and integration).

What do you think?

Question: Which key ingredients for successful youth ministry on the list has (have) worked for you in engaging young people? What do you think I have missed out? Tell me. I want to learn. Others want to learn. Leave a comment here. 

About Joseph Iregbu

From a homeless, near-school-dropout to living a story worth telling. Purpose is my passion. What's your story?

5 Replies

  1. Michael Okotete

    Thank you. All 5 points are wonderful but the one I have really handled is the first and last. As a youth leader, each time I stand before my people, I POINT CHRIST and always ACT before I SAY it. Really AWESOME.

    1. Michael, thanks for being awesome!

  2. Michael Okotete

    Thank u.All 5 wonderful points are wonderful but d one i av realy handled is d 1st and last. As a youth leader each time i stand b4 my poeple I POINT CHRIST and i always DO B4 I SAY it realy wondaful to know d right thing to do.

  3. Sarah

    Hi Joseph!
    funny u post this because its an area God has recently opened my eyes a bit too. I agree with all ur points but just want to add on. There seems to be enough big events, church services and conferences etc but not enough personal relationship with good older mentors. What i see happening is we don’t really know what’s going on in their lives cos we don’t spend time to see how they are etc. The next thing u know they having babies, self-harming and all sorts. The events and church stuff is good but can do nothing if we miss the basics of being there for them.

    1. Hey Sarah,

      You must have read my concluding post for next week! 🙂 I stress mentoring there. How crucial too! I am always amazed at how we think activities can save without a solid foundation. It’s somewhat of a tragedy how the devil is attacking homes and young people, and guess what, the church is having more activities and parents aren’t sensitive spiritually either. We must wake up and take our spiritual stand first before social engagements. We need God’s revival but revival must be preceded by repentance on our part.

      Thanks much for sharing.

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