Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders High School Youth Group Is Changing—So We Must, Too

High School Youth Group Is Changing—So We Must, Too

We used to be able to say, “Youth group will be epic this Wednesday. So come and bring a friend!” All because we were going to serve a 30-foot banana split and play a fun game. But that’s nowhere as impressive as that game kids are playing on their phone. It’s not more fun than the satisfaction they get from sitting at home texting with friends.

So if we can’t meet the social need, then what’s left? It’s our biggest asset and strength: We meet kids’ spiritual need.

Lately, real one-on-one discipleship has been on my heart. And I believe we’ll need to keep stepping up our ministry into young lives. After all, kids will be coming through our doors less and less.

Our model is based on the LeaderTreks Discipleship Model.

Discipleship for Your High School Youth Group

1. Teach discipleship.

Do this in small groups once a year. Help spur conversations about what it means to be a disciple. Then lead kids toward becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

2. Build discipleship relationships.

Some students won’t immediately buy into a discipleship relationship. So they may need the teaching and discussion in a small group to nudge them in that direction.

3. Mentor relationships.

Our volunteer team disciples students, one leader per every two students. This relationship lasts until graduation. We disciple students who want to be in this type of relationship and accountability. Because we have more students than volunteers, I recruit other adults from the congregation to help.

These mentors aren’t an active part of our Sunday nights. But they are active in students’ lives. Our main tool is…a cell phone. We meet face to face once a month outside of youth group and communicate via text and phone weekly.

Because most students are hit-or-miss at youth group, this relationship with a caring adult is huge. It helps kids continue pursing their faith after graduation.

Bonus Tip: Parent Ministry Is Key!

I now meet with parents one Sunday night each month while their kids are in worship. I emphasize that parents are the main disciplers and give them practical help to do so. Most parents aren’t discipling their child beyond taking them to church. Because we will see less and less of some students, the parents’ role in teaching kids to follow Christ will be vital to their spiritual growth and success.

With all the changes in our world, student ministry will take more work by more people. But high school youth group still can prosper. Both adults and students need to try to get ahead of where ministry is heading.

What are your thoughts on the future of high school youth group and student ministry programs?