Starting a youth program!

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by chipsgirl, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. chipsgirl

    chipsgirl
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    My church currently doesn't have a real youth program other than Sunday school. I am the youth leader so I get to plan it all. We don't really have money so I have to do stuff cheap as possible. I don't even know where to begin on how to structure this thing! I'm pretty much starting from scratch here so I need some advice. I currently have 8 kids ranging in age from 11-16. I'm sure once I really get it up and going they will bring friends with them though and the program will grow. What do you all suggest I do to get this up and running? Like I said, all we have so far is a Sunday School class, meaning there is nothing for them special on Sunday nights or Wednesdays. Help!
     
  2. chipsgirl

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    If your church youth have a website maybe you could post it here so I can get some idea's from there as well. Thanks!
     
  3. Jimmy C

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    Do you have any musical talent - guitars, drums, piano? If so, on wednesdays you could have some praise and worship time then Bible study. Our chruch does this and we get quite a few unchurched kids.

    How about a friday night coffee house - set aside a room that you could put some bean bag chairs, play music in and give the kids a place to hang out that would be an alternative to going out.

    There are many books that you can pick up that can give you ideas for activites that are cheap.
     
  4. chipsgirl

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    Great ideas! Thanks!
     
  5. donnA

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    I think your youth are too young, I mean 11?
    Our youth are grades 7 -12, you have includes those who are not out in an adult life yet, still in school. I think the grade 7 thing is becasue our local high school starts at 7th grade, but I'm not sure about that. One reason might be becasue the 11 year old isn't in high school and the other yough are, totally different life, different situations, they have more freedoms and prevlidges then the the 11 year old, different set of problems in life.
    There are lots and lots of youth ministry books out there, get a few of those, adn see what you can learn, and use whaty is useful for your size church and youth department.
     
  6. USN2Pulpit

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    Are there any children at your church? If there are, get them involved in "student leadership." Things like assistant VBS teacher/aid, or Children's church assistant. Be careful not to separate the youth program from the church; instead, seek to integrate them into the worship experience and service. Make them visible to the assembled church: Youth ushers, greeters, bulletin "hander-outers," even youth-related announcements - this makes them visible in the church.

    That's good for personal growth, but in a practical sense, it will aid you in the church's support for the youth program. Adults need to be convinced that youth programs are there to help students mature spiritually and become useful members in the church body.

    And now a word of caution: Know Whom you serve! Also, be sure to subordinate yourself to your pastor and lean on his instruction and support. I say this because as a youth program gets moving and active, oftentimes the youth leader will walk around with a target on their back. Expect criticism, but lean on God. Keep the communication open with your pastor so that he always knows what's going on.
     
  7. chipsgirl

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    All the churches here do youth at 6th grade. Our schools are divided into 6-8th and 9-12th grades.
     
  8. dianetavegia

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    The local schools here have grades 5-8th and 9-12th but our church also starts our youth program at 7th grade. Our schools had to split this way when they built the new middle schools because of over crowding at the elementary schools.
     
  9. donnA

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    All the churches here do youth at 6th grade. Our schools are divided into 6-8th and 9-12th grades. </font>[/QUOTE]Then the youth group needs to be divied that way.
    What will you do when the older youth are discussing a biblical way of resisting teen sex waiting for marriage? Will you talk with 11 year olds about sex? Lots of problems develop when a ministry for youth has children in it, two didfernet kinds of people with two different sets of life problems, someone will not be properly ministered too.
     
  10. donnA

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    Yes Diane, our local school split sort of because of crowding, and now the 6th graders are at the high school and now they have middle school on the first floor, and high school on the second floor of the high school building. But we are still 7th -12th grade youth also.
    By stopping at age 16 for youth they are leaving out potential youth members, who might be added by other youth inviting them that don't go to church now.
     
  11. Rookiepastor

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    Chipsgirl

    I think you are on the right track. We stepped out in faith hired a part time youth minister, before we had any youth.

    Within two months we had a youth group of about 12.

    During the Spring, Summer and Fall months we hold what we call "268 House" It comes from Isaiah 26:8. This is held on Saturday evenings, we have provided musical groups on the front lawn of the church. All are contemporary at the mildest to rock christian groups.

    Holding the concert outside brings in addition kids and adults.

    Several teens have started either coming to our church go back with their parents to the home church. A couple have been saved.

    Our youth pastor will bring a message every time we do this as well.

    Other nights are layed back nights where the kids can come and play board games and other activities.

    I wish we had a gym or the space for ball fields but we don't.

    God Bless and we will be praying for your success.
     
  12. chipsgirl

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    Thank you Rookie. I really hate that I have to defend this cause that's not what this thread is about but here it goes. I have one youth group from 6th-12th grade because we only have 8 kids. Once it grows then we will adjust as necessary. No back to what I inteneded the thread to be about.....ideas for getting a group going.
     
  13. donnA

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    Why don't you talk with other youth leaders in the area and see what tbey do. Talk with your pastor, he is supose to be a part of any ministry in the church, he probably has ideas,a nd warnings too.
     
  14. chipsgirl

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    My pastor also suggest I talk to area youth leaders and see what they might can suggest. I already have a couple in mind.
    I want to be careful to not seperate them from the church of course, but I do want them to feel special and like they have a place in the church. The older kids had to go to the adult classes and the younger ones to the children's classes until I offered to start teaching the youth.
     
  15. APuritanMindset

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    I'm rookiepastor's youth minister ;)

    People have given good advice. And starting with a small group, you can have younger kids in it. I think it is somewhat (although not totally) a misconception that younger kids can't understand some truths for older kids. Some truths they won't get, but others they will. But it is the same for any student. Some are more developed than others.

    You can't necessarily always cater to some set of "felt needs". I do recommend you find some books, but, despite what the books say, there is no set of "felt needs" that matches every youth group. I have a friend who is youth minister at a church around here and his youth group discusses things like masturbation and dating in an open forum with everyone present. Yet in my youth group, these are not topics that come up normally in discussion. So not all groups are the same at all.

    The coffee house idea (or 268 House as we do) is a good idea. We haven't had 268 for a while though. We're in the process of taking a step of faith and moving our youth program to Tuesday night from Wednesday night. Once that gets established (among some other small details) we'll resume that. Anyway, it is a good idea and is a good draw.

    Also, make sure you have parental support. The parents are vital to a healthy youth group. Meet with them. Talk with them. Try and get to know them as best you can.

    Ok...done ranting... [​IMG]
     
  16. PastorSBC1303

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    Chipsgirl, Alot of what has been said on here is sound advice. I would suggest getting together a parents group/youth council type situation where you have a structure for sharing the responsibility. There is no way you alone are going to be able to handle the needs of a youth group for 8 or 800. This will help in holding the youth and youth parents and yourself accountable to what is our focus, where are we going and how are we going to get there. Because if you are not careful youth groups naturally gravitate to what they are comfortable with. For example, in our church currently we have a group of about 20-25 youth with a part time youth pastor. If he and I do not stay on top of things, the youth group naturally drifts to only times of fellowship and worship because that is what the kids like. And there is nothing wrong with those 2 areas, but then we are weak in terms of evangelism, discipleship and service. It is a constant struggle to stay balanced and to do both things the kids enjoy and also push them out of the comfort zone to grow and mature in the Lord.
     

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