Are you wondering how to involve teens in children’s ministry? When people tell me teenagers shouldn’t be allowed in kids ministry, my heart breaks. Let me tell you why.
My parents have been in ministry my entire life. They also involved me in ministry my whole life.
- I was 7 the first time I was in a puppet skit. I was so short, I had to stand up in the bottom part of the stage (instead of kneeling).
- At 10 I taught my first preschool class. Granted, the class had only three kids. But I followed the curriculum every week.
- I was 16 when I was in charge of my own puppet team one weekend every month. My team consisted of about 10 kids and young teens, and we ministered to about 300 kids.
- Almost every summer of my childhood involved traveling and ministering with my parents at VBS and summer camps. So many road trips…
I’m not saying this to brag on myself. Trust me, I have my own problems. I’m saying all this to brag on my parents.
In the Bible, Paul (a teacher) talks to Timothy (a young person, new in ministry). In 1 Timothy 4:12 he says: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. But set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
I’m going to turn the verse around a little. I want to use it to challenge you, the children’s ministry leader, to not look down on youth in your church. Instead, you can learn more about how to involve teens in children’s ministry. For example, you can:
- Help teens set an example.
- Teach them how to be an example.
- Give kids a place to shine.
How to Involve Teens in Children’s Ministry: 7 Pointers
1. Give them a job.
Don’t just have teens sit in the back of the room. Give them something to do. Church was never boring to me because I had a job. I did puppets, taught classes, led a small group, and ran a summer day camp. It was new and challenging.
Here’s an infographic on jobs that kids and youth can do. And the list of how to involve teens in children’s ministry is really endless!
2. Trust them.
Give kids a job and let them do it! Don’t micro-manage. And if kids mess up, use it as a learning tool.
The first time I ran my own puppet team, I was 16. I was tired of the same old songs we always used. At the time, the band Hawk Nelson had just come out, and they had a song called “Bring ‘Em Out.” It was fun, so I chose to use it in a puppet skit.
After church, my dad calmly sat me down. He asked bluntly, “What did that song have to do with Jesus or the lesson?” I replied, “Nothing.” He then told me the songs should be about the lesson or some spiritual truth. He didn’t squash my spirit; he just provided direction for my creativity.