We’ve got some things coming up in our Student Ministry that we are preparing to launch that I am wicked excited about. Our school year here in Boston (did you catch the wicked?) starts in September, and so I’ve still got a bit of planning to do. Yet, I wanted to share a few things that I think are going to make our Youth Ministry even better this year, and can help yours a bunch, too!
We’ve broken up our strategy with budget into three sections, and each one of these tools covers one of those main priorities.
We want to invest heavily in our leaders, so we’ll be using YouLead from Orange to train our team.
You can check out YouLead by visiting their site; but to wrap it up in a nutshell, YouLead is a strategic plan to make sure you are still learning as a leader and staying up to date on leadership principles. You get a weekly bit of training for yourself that doesn’t take more than 20 minutes, as well as tons of resources to send out to your team, your volunteers, and even event-planning guides for your leadership meetings. YouLead isn’t a communication tool, it’s a resource to blow up the ability and possibility of your leaders.
Let’s be honest: Every youth ministry in America would be better off if we had better trained leaders. Youth Ministries that kill it have multiple people on staff that have not just a passion for youth ministry, but also some pretty serious training and experience. Those of us in smaller contexts could absolutely use more qualified leaders, and that’s where YouLead comes in. Think of it like this, you can train your entire team for a year for less than the price of you going to one conference. That’s a heck of a bargain!
PLUS, the amazing folks over at Orange have given me a promo-code to give to you for $50 off the yearly subscription for YouLead! Just enter YLBLOG149 and you should be set for a 25% savings off this amazing product!
We want to partner with parents in a way that moves beyond just communicating announcements, and that’s where ParentMinistry.net comes in.
We recently did a Parents Forum, something that I’ve tried in past years in our ministry with no success, and it went above and beyond our expectations. We had to order twice the amount of pizza we had planned on because we had such great attendance, and where I thought families would rush out the door on a Sunday afternoon, they hung around after event talking in ways they had never talked with each other.
I was challenged this past year with the thought that if you want to really partner with parents, quit spending money only on students, quit only doing events for students, and do more for the parents. That became possible with this amazing resource that ParentMinistry.net offers. Once again, it’s a yearly subscription and the price appears high, but if you could see the stuff you get with this subscription, you would immediately see the value and the need for your Youth Ministry. Jeremy Lee has given you everything in a nice package to send to your parents for an online class. But he goes a step further; he also gives you everything you’d need to recreate the resources with your face and branding, to help YOU look like the rockstar, not himself. And that’s just one of the 6 amazing tools this subscription includes.
You can get a monthly subscription for only $35 to check out what the whole year could look like, and I’d highly encourage you to do so. I know this is going to be a game changer in our youth ministry, and if you check it out, you’ll see that reality in your ministry as well.
We want to invest relationally and spiritually in the lives of our students, so a 28-day devotional with weekly check-ins like Know God is perfect for kicking off small group relationships.
This is another great resource from Orange, and I was greatly pleased to pick up a copy at this past year’s Orange Conference. There are a ton of great devotionals for students out there, but what makes Know God stand out for me is that it is something the student is challenged and encouraged to do with an adult leader right off the bat; in fact, I don’t know that it is possible to go through the book without meeting with a leader at least once.
We’ll be buying a copy of this for all of our students in Small Groups and our Leaders to go through with them. You can check out Know God on the Orange Store.
Communication is something we need to improve, so we’re using Simply Youth Ministry’s Communicate texting platform.
I feel like every year for the past 4, I’ve tried to start off strong with a texting service at the beginning of the year. I’ve always shied away from actually investing in one, as I was looking for a free or cheap, bare bones service; but it always faded out after a few weeks in the fall.
This year, I finally decided that if it was something I was going to place importance on, I needed to invest in communication. The choice was simple: there are thousands of services out there, but Communicate from Simply Youth Ministry is for Youth Ministry by Youth Ministry. It’s a bit more money than I would like to spend, but the financial investment should also make it something we keep up with and not let go to waste.
Added Bonus: T-Shirts from Spreadshirt to make our brand legit.
I’ve been in Youth Ministry long enough now that almost every t-shirt I wear is from a youth group event. That collection will grow this year to include sermon series and other promotions throughout the year. Sometimes, we will order shirts for all of our leaders or all of our students, but often this year, we’ll be ordering one t-shirt of this design, one of another, and so on. The best website/service I have found for ordering single custom t-shirts has been Spreadshirt. Want to know how great T-Shirt Printing with Spreadshirt is? Leave a comment on this post with something new you’re trying this year in your Youth Ministry, and Wednesday, July 31st I’ll choose a random winner to get our new YouthMin.org T-shirts with the new logo, as seen in our Facebook community!