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Improve Your Youth Ministry Program With 7 Simple Steps

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Looking for easy ideas to improve your youth ministry? Then check out these 7 pro tips that lead to powerful impact.

I love youth leaders. Although I get to train thousands of them across America every year, one of my favorite things is learning from them. Many youth leaders implement very effective strategies to create the most impactful programs possible.

With that as a backdrop, I’ve narrowed down seven simple ideas to improve your youth ministry. They come from youth leaders across America, so they’re tried and tested. Implement them today to ensure your program thrives.

7 Ways to Improve Your Youth Ministry

1.  Prioritize prayer.

In 2013, Dare 2 Share commissioned a national research project that helped us uncover the best practices of the best youth groups. This shouldn’t have surprised us, but the No. 1 characteristic of effective youth groups was their commitment to prayer.

Youth leaders prayed. Students prayed. Adult volunteers prayed. The program had extended times of prayer before meeting and, in some cases, during the actual meeting. The simplest way to deepen your youth ministry impact is to deepen your commitment to prayer, both personally and programmatically.

2.  Take time to prepare a lesson that rocks.

The most effective youth leaders I know are committed to preparing each lesson to the point of excellence. These youth leaders think ahead. They labor over their teaching outlines, illustrations and exegesis to make sure they present the best talk possible.

Far too many youth leaders go to a lesson-outline-churning website the afternoon before their program and frantically try to find something that will hit the mark. But the best talks are thought over and prayed over long in advance. They have just the right blend of content, creativity and interactivity.

3.  Build the best student leadership team possible.

I’m shocked when I talk to youth leaders who don’t have a student leadership team. Youth leaders worth their salt recruit high-will, raw-skill teens and train them to be high-will, high-skill student leaders. These types of kids aren’t just willing to set up folding chairs before youth group. They’re willing to fill up the other teenagers they are seeking to reach and disciple!

If you want to fast-track your training efforts with high-will teenagers, then take them to Lead THE Cause. It’s a one-of-a-kind rapid intensification event for leadership development and disciple multiplication.

4. Equip teens and adults to win, build, train…repeat.

You need to inspire and train youth and adults to win the lost, disciple new believers and share Jesus with others. Then you must equip them to repeat the process. This takes intentionality and focus. You need to put training events on the ministry calendar that equip them to do this effectively.

Many youth leaders I talk to include this kind of training in annual camps or retreats. They also do curriculum series (such as Shine) throughout the year so kids and adults can navigate a gospel conversation from takeoff to touchdown in a simple, natural way.