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Does Your Youth Ministry Need a Name?

A question that I come across is, Should my youth ministry have a name?” Our student programs (Uprising = high school; Resurrection = middle school) have names, and while they do matter, it only matters if your marketing and branding is effective.

You can come up with a million names, but if you don’t communicate them correctly, no one will care. While you should take time to create an effective and catchy name, you need to do more. The more is:

DEVELOPING A VISION

The vision you have for your ministry needs to communicate what could and should be. What should your ministry accomplish? And is it clear to your team, the parents or the church community?

The vision takes your youth ministry from a program to a movement. People start to recognize what you do as more than just hanging with teens. They see you investing in the future.

EMBRACING CORE VALUES

There are certain values every youth ministry will have, like discipling the next generation. But then there are certain values that make your youth ministry unique. These values focus on:

  • How you behave.
  • What’s important to you.
  • How you are built.

Understanding these values will not only help you develop a brand but communicate what’s important. The values you have will give your youth ministry’s name integrity because people will know what it stands for.

OVERCOMMUNICATING THE STORY

Every name has a story, and people need to know its origin. Stories are memorable and answer the question “Why?” The why will help you show the name’s relevancy. It will give your program life.

Don’t be afraid to overcommunicate the story behind the name. New people will come along and the story behind the name will help you revisit the vision behind the ministry.

GIVING IT A VISUAL PRESENCE

It might seem unnecessary to give your ministry a look, but it matters. An effective logo can communicate what words cannot. It can create conversation starters in the community and evangelize inadvertently.

TALKING WITH THE EXPERTS

Even if you have a natural knack for marketing, you need to connect with people who know a little bit more than you do. Look for people in your congregation and community to help you build the brand.

A resource I’ve used is Platform University from Michael Hyatt. It’s a resource for people looking to build their own brand. But if you don’t have the budget, look for people who have marketing, design or branding backgrounds.

To spend time branding your ministry might seems like a waste of time, but it can have an impact. It’ll help your ministry rise above the noise that competes for a teen’s time and attention. It can give you presence in a community thirsty for something more.

Question: Do you agree that youth ministry should have branding?  

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Chris graduated from Xavier University in 2003 with a BA in Communications: Electronic Media. He moved to Baltimore in the fall of 2003 where he served as a Jesuit Volunteer for a year. During that time, he was a Case Manager at Chase Brexton, met his wife Kate and felt God's calling to Student Ministry. In the summer of 2004, he was hired by the Roman Catholic Parish Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland as a Middle School Youth Minister. Today he oversees grades 5-12 as the Director of Student Ministry.