Each week thousands of youth leaders put together another youth service, hoping to incorporate dynamics that ultimately capture the attention of students. Many add quintessential elements to enhance their service and help teens experience Christ. At the risk of stating the obvious, let me offer seven elements every youth service needs.
Before you shout, "Duh!" and go back to checking your email, hear me out. Students need to hear the leader pray. There is a spiritual DNA that is emitted throughout the group when they hear a youth leader raise their voice in faith to God. My youth leader's prayers still resonate with me, some 25 years later! Make it a point to incorporate deliberate prayer at each gathering.
2. A Red-Carpet Runway
Establish a culture of seven in your youth ministry. I read that on average a person decides within seven seconds whether or not to trust you. When Hollywood puts on a grandiose event they roll out the red carpet. Challenge your leaders and students to create a welcoming and inclusive, red-carpet, environment.
We don't have a worship team, you say? Though worship includes singing it is so much more. As a matter of fact, worship is by definition, 'loving someone deeply.' Encompass creative expressions in the worship experience. Have a student read a Psalm or Christ-centered spoken word, project a worship video as you have students journal, read, sketch, or even paint a picture, that tells of their love for the Savior. In other words, help students be creative in their love for Jesus.
I hear it's good medicine. Let's face it; many students in our youth ministry rarely get opportunity to LOL. Unfortunately, when they do snicker or giggle, it is often at inappropriate jokes or 'at' someone rather than 'with' someone. I'm not suggesting that this is the start of your standup comedy career, only that we become serious about laughing. Funny is still relevant.
Next time I'll give you the other three. Until then, thanks for watching.
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