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4 Things our Student Ministry is using this year

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!

PLUSthe 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!

29 Comments
  1. David Gantt

    This sounds lame but I am just planning ahead this fall. I already have my lesson topics planned out through February. We are also changing our meeting times from Sunday and Wednesday to just Wednesday and meeting for an hour and a half so we can turn it into a mid-week worship time. We are developing our own curriculum to go along with the sermon series and that is implemented into our small groups on Sunday morning. This is also being done to coincide with our new Family Worship service.

  2. gerrenfish

    We are planting a garden for the students to work in and give back to the community. We will have lessons about growth to go along with the labor.

  3. Sean

    We are challenging our students to serve during our Contemporary service, Children’s Ministry and other places of the church you don’t normally see youth. We’re hoping they see that they are not the church of the future, but the church of right now.

  4. Tammy Foseid

    The “new” thing I am doing is having a special monday night group with just the HS students. We have 6-12th grade together for everything and I have had it on my heart to do something special for them this year so they will feel more a part of something and hopefully build relationships that are deeper with each other and the leaders. I know a lot of churches already separate but we are small so it is harder to do that, thus this is new for us:)

  5. Jacob Burrows

    This is my first fall as a youth director in a refugee/inner-city community. I’ll be focusing on a few young leaders, doing an after school program for students and pouring into adult leaders.

  6. sell412

    We’re taking up the Orange mantle and will be starting some solid meetings between parents and small group leaders, two of our key resources for helping students grow. We’re having breakfast for them all before the programs start, introducing them to each other and asking key questions so we know how to best serve each individual student. We’ll use the feedback to also help shape future meeting topics and resources that we will purchase.

    • I’m a day late, but you were the 6th comment, and 6 was the random number that random.org gave me, so you WIN! Contact me back!

  7. Cooper Miller

    We are having a social media seminar for parents for the first time!

  8. Matt Braggins

    We are going to attempt small groups for the first time in our student ministry.

  9. Joshua Sale

    I’m running a “parenting teenagers course” through alpha, to connect with the parents better. :)

  10. Jason Laird

    My goal this year is to have a Leadership Team that consists of primarily students with adults plugged in as mentors to the students. The adults will help students learn to prepare and lead discussion in the small group times, help with the music ministry and many other things. I’m pretty excited to see what God is going to do through this model!

  11. Javier

    We have just begun a Youth Booth where students & parents can come by, hang out, & get information. It’s sort of like a welcome desk, but much cooler. I’m training a group of student leaders to man it and seek out new students. We started it 2 weeks ago and it’s been a huge hit.

  12. Katy Johnston

    No longer doing the same kickoff event weve done the past five years and doing it at a separate location to draw more.

    Love the new site. Looks fantastic!

  13. D Howard Schneider

    I am going to give more responsibility to my youth. We have moved into and completely remodeled a new room because we have grown so much. We now have a “diner/ cafe” and I hoping to have it be student and parent/ volunteer ran. I’m also working on incorporating students into the meeting part (having students conduct announcements and lead small groups).

  14. Joe Beal

    We have an after school program on Wednesdays during the school year (Wednesday is an early release day), and we are working with a few seniors to take some major responsibility in it for a term. Here goes nothing.

  15. We have piloted the process of getting into schools, which we will tackle head on this year, ie going to games, school events, proctoring, and being accepted by the school administration. Excited about the relationships to be built with this one. Also, have some leads with partnering with the YMCA to reach more students in our community for the gospel.

    Developing leaders – just last week had a guy wanting more and thinking about pursuing ministry, so i’m giving him the shot to do it.

  16. ryan

    I am working on an overnight college campus preview for highschoolers. We are in suburban Boston and we plan to go into Boston proper to see probably 4-6 popular colleges in 24 hours. Stay at a hostel or crash on a family home floor for one night. Lightning fast tour..the point is not to actually tour them but to have conversation along the way about faith in college. Trying to organize with campus ministers to meet us briefly as well. Send me the shirt I win!!

  17. Chris

    Being bi-vocational I am going to try an plan out events 3 months at a time

  18. Joe Dore

    We’ve moved away from a combined HS/MS worship & small group program on Wednesdays. We will now be offering a MS only worship/teaching/small group program on Sunday mornings. For HS we aren’t doing a worship service at all and are instead pushing them toward the adult services. We’re going to focus all of our energy with HS students into the small groups and outreach side of ministry. It will be a pretty drastic change for our culture.

  19. Justin Knowles

    Writing a whole new curriculum track for each grade for our students this year. Also, focusing huge on friendship evangelism and what evangelism looks like through small groups. We will still do our big events, but taking a look on what if real, intentional, genuine friendships through small groups will also be a huge evangelism tool. Working on somethings right now. I seriously cannot wait. Looking to equipping our students to share the power of His story with their story like we never have done before.

  20. This just seems like a giant article full of product placement. If I had tons of money to buy every resource put out I would buy all this stuff too!

    • We don’t have tons of money at our church, but we use several of these as well. Simply Tools for texting our students is awesomely helpful, and helps us maintain a super-clean database of student info. (I pay for their services, so the only benefit to me sharing that is hoping that someone else finds it useful)

      We use LIVE curriculum for our middle school small groups. Why? Plug and play questions for leaders to facilitate conversation with a consistent goal in mind. We know every JH student that comes on Wednesday is going to engage in these topics and we can plan and track what our whole ministry has covered while empowering an army of volunteer leaders to lead. Win-win-win. (This is our product we use instead of “Know God” which was mentioned in the article.)

  21. Are these shameless plugs or are they legitimate tools that you use? No ones judging if you are getting free curriculum to promote their gear :)

    • haha, these are legitimate tools I’m using! I know it seems “advertisy” but I love these resources. ParentMinistry.net is an advertiser on our site and has given me some resources, but its a product I think a lot of people have interest in but don’t know anyone using, and I know I love it and want to help get the word out about it!

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