Creating a sense of family can be a real challenge if you are called to a church that has had numerous youth pastors over the last several years. I had this very real challenge when I began my ministry in Rockford, IL and then again when we moved to Atlanta.
When creating a sense of family, it doesn't mean that you have to lose your leadership role in the lives of your students. I often tell my leaders that you have to be more of a coach than a companion, but that doesn't mean that there cannot be friendship there.
If you've been around me much, you've probably heard me say one of my favorite quotes on friendship, "Show me your friends...and I'll show you your future." But not too long ago, I heard the haunting line from one student, "I'd like to know where these friends are? No one wants a real relationship anymore."
The holiday season is the perfect time to have "Family fun" with your kids and your leaders. In our events, such as trampoline jumping in our living room and turkey basketball games, we made sure they became traditions not just spur of the moment ideas. This youth culture sees lots of youth groups, but rarely do they experience what they most crave...
Instilling heart into your leaders for your kids is one of the most important things you can do. Each year around 100 Atlanta Leadership students come to us from all different parts of the country and different backgrounds. One of the first things I try to instill in them is heart. How?
The core growth strategy for my youth groups over the years has been creating a youth church environment of AUTHENTIC FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE. Though your preaching, worship, and evangelism all play a big part in youth ministry growth...your strongest "drawing card" to this lonely young adult culture will remain a RELATIONAL ONE.
How good are you at creating family in your youth group? Many years ago...I already could sense that most people who did youth and young adult ministry needed to go home and shut down their youth or young adult group and start a family. And now a million times more.
Once upon a time, a well-meaning Sunday school leader declared to the teenagers that showed up Sunday morning after Sunday morning, “You guys are going to like each other or else we’re going to die trying to make you…” The truth is many of us have felt like we’ve already died trying. Creating a family feeling in our youth groups is easier said than done.