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Welcoming Youth Ministry: Invite Kids to Come and See

2. A disarming environment that has a positive impact.

If your meeting area isn’t what you want it to be, do some brainstorming. Ask how you can break down barriers and create a place that communicates the value of “come and see.” Here are a few easy ways to enhance your environment:

  • Food—This is a love language!
  • Music—This can range from live music (a band or just one person) to iTunes and Spotify.
  • Fun—A misunderstood element, fun can glue us to Jesus and other Christians.
  • Friends—These are crucial in both one-on-one and group settings.
  • Student art—Display paintings, enlarged photos, graphic design prints, and so on.
  • Games—It’s easier to jump into a group activity than to start a conversation. So have a space where something is happening.
  • A fresh coat of paint
  • New carpet or rugs

3. A safe place for young people to talk about any issue, struggle, or feeling.

Regardless of how uncomfortable we feel, we must let teenagers share from the heart and be real about their struggles. That’s why it’s important for a welcoming youth ministry to:

  • Recruit leaders who are great listeners.
  • Have (and possibly create) resources for teenagers with tough questions.
  • Know your limits. When you can’t help with certain issues, be ready to direct kids to people who can.

4. Dialed into both kinds of energy. 

Who will feel comfortable coming and seeing what you do: extroverts? introverts? How can you create a “come and see” ministry for both? Ask:

  • Is there space where teenagers can just hang out?
  • Is there a positive atmosphere filled with upbeat, real, loving people? This involves everyone from leaders mingling to teenagers greeting to people on stage leading worship and giving announcements.
  • Do the “regulars” love being there? If not, the visitors who “come and see” probably won’t come back.

A “come and see” culture won’t look the same for every youth group. But these are some things our ministry practices to help change young lives. Many of these ideas came directly from teenagers in our ministry. So invite a handful of kids and committed youth leaders to provide input about creating a “come and see” culture in your church.

This article about a welcoming youth ministry originally appeared here.