Youth Ministry is such a dynamic thing, change is common and needed, the group dynamics can shift week to week based on who is there and who is not. The temptation can be that sometimes we can be as dynamic with our approach week to week, changing style, flow and structure to a youth night. What I have noticing more and more is that a steadfast commitment to keeping a reliable and consistent structure can and will have more value and dare I say more fruit than a go with the flow style and here are two reasons why.
It Makes Outreach Easier: In the past year we have adopted a much more standardized format to our youth services, they are not the same week in and week out, but will always incorporate: a message of some kind, Worship and small group time for all students. What I have noticed as a result of this change is that students don’t ask, “what is happening at youth this week, I want to bring my friend out”. This was a question that as a small group leader several years ago I would get often. Students now know what to expect , and as a result are inviting their non-churched friends in droves. Consistency is many ways is safety, and creating a safe place for students to grow in their faith is of the upmost importance.
It is helpful to your leaders: I remember vividly, being a small group leader, and having one of those “God is moving huge nights” with my small group guys and just knowing that the next week we would take it further, challenging them more, sharing more. But then we got to youth the next week and its now crazy games night instead. The lack of consistency meant a loss of momentum and in some respects missed opportunities to build on what was already happening. Having consistency makes being one of your small group leaders so much better because you know that you are going to have time next week to answer those tough questions that you had to park, or for students to share how they implemented what was God put on their heart the week before. I am not saying not to have fun games night, but have the scheduled in a way that they are not counterproductive the the purpose of your ministry.
This might not be for everyone, its challenging to do, to set a vision, purpose and objective and stick with it. But from what I have seen, the impact it is having on students spiritual growth is worth all the hard work and discipline we have put in. Your students and leader will appreciate it, I know ours have.
Geoff Stewart is the Pastor of Jr & Sr High School for Journey Student Ministries at Peace Portal Alliance Church and regularly contributes GUEST POSTS to MTDB. You can, too! See how right here.