Week 6: Starting a Youth Ministry Frequently Asked Questions
There are always so many questions that could be answered. This week we focus on answering five of those questions. If you have any others, please feel free to ask us on our contact us form.
How much money should we budget for the year?
Your budget depends on several different factors, including:
- How often you meet
- The size of your group
- How many events you plan to do
Ultimately, you can accomplish quite a bit on a small budget. Here are some tips:
- If you are tight for extra funds at your church, consider splitting the event costs with the teens. For example, if the event is $250 total, then have the church pay $125 and have the teens pay $125 (divide this amount by the number of teens going to see how much each teen pays).
- Ask the members of your church to contribute to certain aspects of your year. For example, you could put an announcement in the bulletin asking if anyone would like to help purchase to the youth group's curriculum.
- You can do a fundraiser to pay for bigger events.
- Ask members to provide snacks for your Bible studies.
What if there aren’t many teens in my church?
Youth ministries are often considered successful if they bring in loads of young people every week. In reality, teen ministry is all about discipleship, being there as a role model and guide for the teens as they navigate these challenging years. If you only have a few teens in your church, the work you are doing is just as important as the church that has 150.
Also, there are some advantages to having a smaller teen group. First, it is easier to get to know the teens and disciple them. Second, smaller groups are able to meet in more informal settings like your home or a local coffee shop, which helps it to feel less like a school type setting and helps with discussions. Lastly, your budget will go much further so you can get creative and go on some fun adventures with them.
If you only have one or two teens, consider working with them to reach out to the local high school they attend. Start by talking with them, letting them know you would love to get a youth group started. Ask if they would be interested and if they have any friends they would be willing to invite. If they are excited about the idea, schedule a Bible study or event. If all goes well, you can hopefully continue to build from here through friends inviting friends at the local high school.
What advice would you give to a church starting a youth ministry for the first time?
Make sure the person or people leading your youth group are committed. Unfortunately, and often for very good reasons, the people leading youth groups will stay for a year and then can no longer help. So new members step up and take over. This makes it challenging for a youth ministry to really get established. More importantly, youth ministry is all about discipleship, which means building relationships with these young people. When the leadership of a group continually changes, it makes it challenging to form relationships with the teens.
What makes a good Bible study for teens?
God’s Word is Key: The power to impact a teen's life comes from the Holy Spirit working in them as they hear the Bible.
Make It Relevant: Keep your studies engaging and relevant to teens. Don’t shy away from tough topics. Make sure to not just teach them God’s Word, but also show them how it directly applies to their lives.
Live It Out: It is very powerful for the teens to see Christian men and women passionately living out the Bible and sharing their love for Jesus. Demonstrate this to the teens at each Bible study. Also, challenge them with tangible ways to live out their faith each week. Often it is in the tough moments where they are sharing their faith that they will get to experience God, which can be a life-changing moment.
Prayer: If prayer is one of the most important things we can do as Christians, we need to be modeling this for the teens and helping them develop their own prayer lives.
Games and Fellowship: The bonding and fellowship that develops in the silly fun of youth ministries is a great way to break down awkwardness and get to know the teens. It also gives your teens things to bond over as a group.
How long should we meet?
To be honest, one hour is often too short to fit in a good Bible study, enjoy some fellowship time talking with the teens, and also include prayer and announcements. We have found that an hour and a half allows for time to bond as a group and fit in everything while still not over-booking the study.
We also found that many more teens attended when we had 30 minutes of sports and fellowship time before the Bible study began. This is also a great way to get to know the teens and build relationships with them, completely outside of the Bible study setting.
Starting a Youth Ministry - Closing Thoughts
Youth ministry matters.
Teens are growing up under the weight of the constant pressures of the world. Being involved in their lives, showing them the truth of God's Word, and encouraging them to step out in faith on the adventure God has called them to is an incredibly important job. Don't forget the reasons behind why you are involved in youth ministry. You will have ups and downs, but what you are doing matters and will make an impact on their lives for years to come.
There is never a bad time to start a youth ministry.
No matter what month of the year, it is not too late to start a youth ministry. You don't have to wait for the next school year to begin! These teens need you right now. Also, remember that you will always be learning and growing, so don't feel you need to be an expert before you dive into youth ministry. You will make mistakes, but that's okay because everyone does. You will learn as you a go, and ultimately God and his Word are the real power behind your ministry. God wants to use each of us despite our brokenness and limitations. We all need him and that is a beautiful thing.
Finally, Chosen Gen is here as a resource and support for you. If you need anything at all, don't hesitate to contact us.