Priority Objectives for a Youth Director


We live in challenging times to be a youth director but more than ever teens need a positive influence in their lives as they face difficult moral choices, mental and emotional turmoil, shattered trust in authority, and attacks on a biblical worldview. They need hope, a sense of belonging, and an identity securely rooted in truth.

Top Priority for a Youth Director

Love the Top Priority for a Youth DIrector
First and foremost, youth leaders need a love for the Lord that spills over into a heart for the teens (Matt. 22:37-40). If one or both of these are missing, teens will soon notice and ministry will be less effective.

Love for the Lord keeps Him first and in the center of what we do.

Love for the teens gives us the motivation to invest into them and the youth ministry with the intent of helping them learn to love the Lord too. As He becomes their all in all, they’ll find Him to be enough even in their most difficult days.

Out of love for the Lord comes an authenticity that speaks volumes to youth, probably more than all the actual words we could speak. Out of love for teens comes an atmosphere of acceptance, respect, and security which appeals to deep-rooted needs within them and opens them to further ministry.

Three Objectives for Those Leading Youth Ministry

With love as our primary driving force, we’re ready for ministry.

  1. Understand youth and their culture and meet them there.

We need to meet teens where they are to take them to where they should be, to go deeper in their walk with the Lord. If we don’t understand how they view life, the messages we send might not get through the way we intend. They might hear something different than what we think we’re communicating. Find help at: Youth Ministry Resources

  1. Build community within the youth group, making the emphasis about relationships — first with God and then with us and the other teens.

Take time to read the blog post, The Focus of Youth Ministry. From this focus, we then strategize or plan out our youth program and meetings. What can we do to help them “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18), to love Him more? What can we do to help them know one another better, not to be cliquish, but to engage in true body life to help each other grow? What can we do to let them know we care?

  1. Disciple, or mentor, them in their love relationship with the Lord.

Youth ministry needs to be about more than fun activities or hanging out. It even needs to be about more than simply learning “about” God or gaining head knowledge from the Bible. Teens need help navigating through life with Christ at the helm. Some of that can happen in a large group setting, but it will take more. They need to see an example. They need to be nurtured. They need feedback and debriefing. This best happens one-on-one and/or in small groups. Some can take place through texting, social media, and the like, but we must never let that replace face to face ministry. Check out the Shepherding Ministry section on the site. Start by reading through all the general pages and then under venues, hone in on the discipleship posts. Though these pages don’t specifically target youth ministry, the principles apply.

Sure, there’s more a youth director must do like planning and scheduling activities, service projects, group dynamic, parent relations, dealing with conflict and discipline issues, staffing, working with a budget, etc. However, with priorities and main objectives as suggested above, we’re headed in a good direction with lots of ministry potential.


School as a Mission Field ?????


Christ's Ambassadors with School as a Mission Field
As children and teenagers head back to school, as well as young people to college, they have increased opportunity for outreach, to share Jesus Christ with their friends, to be a witness in word and deed. But, do they see school as a mission field? … a place to reach out and share Jesus Christ as His ambassador?

Difficulty Seeing School as a Mission Field

It isn’t easy for kids to take a stand unpopular with so many of their peer. (Let’s be honest: It isn’t easy for adults either!) We live in a volatile world that doesn’t look favorably upon what Christians believe. Fear of ridicule and rejection makes witnessing seem overwhelming and stressful. Then, on top of that, we have government regulations and school policies setting limitations on what they can do.

How Can We Help Kids Reach Out in Their Schools?

Recognizing the difficulties of viewing school as their mission field, we need to come alongside of students with the support they need. Here are six ways we can do that:

1) Disciple, or train, them on how to reach out.

Feeling better equipped in knowing how and where to start can alleviate some of the insecurities they might feel.

Resource: Discipling Students in Outreach Worksheet

2) Prepare them by including apologetics in your Bible teaching plan.

Having a better understanding of some of the hard to understand issues, will enable them to be more ready to answer questions and objections they will undoubtedly face. (1 Pet. 3:15)

For Help, Go To: Apologetics Resources

3) Pray for them consistently and let them know you’re standing with them in prayer.

Sensing this kind of support from others encourages them.

4) Pray with them, not just for them.

Taking them to the throne of grace where they’ll find the help they need (Heb. 4:16) serves as a reminder of God’s power available to them.

5) Be a role model, letting them see the adults in their lives sharing Jesus with others in their mission fields (i.e., neighborhood, workplace, unsaved family).

Hearing reports of God’s activity as we witness in our spheres of influence helps them gain a realistic perspective of how life in Christ infiltrates all we do as believers.

To Read: Making an Eternal Difference in the Workplace?

6) Encourage them to get involved in some sort of on-going campus ministry.

Knowing they’re not alone can give them added boldness.

For some popular campus ministries, go to: Back to School Resources

7) Provide tools and resources to help them.

Having something in their hands can help them feel more ready when opportunities come:

Ideas: Tools for Teachers to Share the Gospel (same tools listed in this article could be good for students to use)

The bottom line?
Don’t just tell kids they should be witnesses at school. Help them in practical ways to be ready.


The Focus of Youth Ministry


Focus of Youth Ministry to Reach Teens
If we want to truly reach today’s teenagers, we must get beyond programs and activities. More than ever, today’s young people need real connections — community. With that in mind, let’s keep the focus of youth ministry on relationships that build into their lives.

Reach Teens by Keeping the Focus of Youth Ministry on These Relationships

  1. Relationship with God: Make youth ministry about knowing God personally and intimately, not just learning about Him. Get beyond religion or a bunch of rules to presenting a God who cares about them and has their best interests at heart. — to grow to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matt. 22:37)
  1. Relationship with One Another: Face it. Most teens initially attend youth group because of their peer, unless a parent forces them to go. Purposely incorporate activities to build them into a community of believers, not just friends. Give them a taste of Body Life, what God intends the Church to be. — to be able to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thess. 5:11)
  1. Relationship with the Youth Leader(s): Trust and respect grow out of relationship, not control or superiority. Be affirming and encouraging. Truly listen to them, actively, with your heart, to their feelings and body language, not just their words. Be available. Be a friend … an adult friend, not an overgrown teenager. Be real. Be genuine. — to care for them so much that we delight in sharing our very lives with them, not just the message(1 Thess. 2:8)
  1. Relationship with the Total Church Body: This is often overlooked in youth ministry. Students need to realize that they are part of something bigger than themselves. If you don’t incorporate them into the total church body while they are still teens, why should they stay in the church when they can no longer attend youth group? Treat them like they are the church of today, not just the church of tomorrow. — to sense they belong as members of the whole Body (Rom. 12:4-5)

Everything we do in youth ministry should be seen as a tool to building these kinds of relationships.

For More: Youth Ministry Resources


A Place for Near All Spiritual Gifts in VBS


Vacation Bible School requires a lot of detailed preparation in the months leading up to it. Then, at the last minute, comes a flurry of activity to set up and decorate. During the VBS program, people enjoy a Bible lesson, games, snacks, crafts and perhaps a general assembly time which all require time to prepare. Afterward comes clean-up and follow-up. With so much to do, certainly there’s a place for near all spiritual gifts in VBS.

An Effective VBS Takes a Lot of Organization and Coordination

Think of all that needs to be done: recruiting, delegating responsibilities, choosing curriculum, promoting, scheduling, planning the most effective use of the facilities and church grounds, working with the budget, etc. — Someone with the spiritual gift of administration can provide the organization needed for this ministry event.

As director of VBS, this person would do well to co-direct with someone having the gift of leadership to help him/her think outside of the box, to see all Vacation Bible School could be. People with the gift of administration could also be ones to coordinate specific aspects like crafts, games, snacks, etc.

A Variety of Spiritual Gifts are Needed to Accomplish All the Details

All Gifted for Effectual Ministry but Some Lack Evidence of Spiritual GIftingOne person, or even a handful of people, cannot do it alone if we want to experience an effective Vacation Bible School. Since spiritual gifts are God’s power for serving, it only makes sense that the more we pull on people’s gifting, the more effective VBS will be. Delegating to a broad base of people according to their spiritual gifting, should increase the potential impact of VBS.

The Ministry Handbook: Spiritual Gifts in Use, includes a page that suggests the spiritual gifts that may best fit the various tasks that need to be accomplished in VBS. The handbook is a helpful tool for determining who to recruit in other ministry areas as well, fulfilling different ministry needs.


Foundation for Family Life Ministry


We have three holidays in the U.S. within about a month’s time that center around families — Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and National Children’s Day. The Church can use these holidays to acknowledge, appreciate, and admonish people to live up to their God-given responsibilities in these different roles. We must also consider our responsibility as a Church for families year-round based on the biblical foundation for family life ministry. They need more than a once a year shot in the arm.

The Foundation for Family Life Ministry Starts with the Responsibility God Places on Family Members

Foundation for Family Life Ministry
God places responsibility on both children and parents so we must instruct those in both roles to heed God’s Word.

Of Children:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother. (Eph. 6:1-3)

  • Are we helping children understand that obeying their parents isn’t just about doing what their parents want, but more importantly following God’s desires?
  • Are we encouraging children to honor parents even when they don’t feel like it?

Of Parents:

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4)

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deut. 6:5-9)

  • Are we stressing the discipleship role of parents in nurturing their children in the ways of the Lord more than a mere caretaking role? (For Help: Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp)
  • Are we encouraging consistency between what parents say and do, emphasizing how it begins in their own hearts?

The Church’s Responsibility to Families

Rather than usurping the responsibility of parents for instructing children in the ways of the Lord, the Church should come alongside of them, training them and holding them accountable to do their God-given part. We should also challenge children to do their part, hence encouraging healthy parent-child relationships.

Family life ministry, built on the foundation God laid in His Word for families, can sometimes seem like a daunting task.

Many Christian parents find themselves so consumed in the busyness and stresses of life that they neglect this important responsibility, especially difficult if a single parent. Some parents merely send their children to church assuming we will provide all the spiritual input kids need. And, not all parents know the Lord.

Children have few role models of what it means to submit to, respect, and honor others. And, they’re receiving confusing, mixed messages about what it means to be a family today with the world saying one thing and the church another.

No matter how complex family life might seem, we do have a responsibility to both parents and children to help them understand their God-given roles and to provide encouragement and tools.

Biblical Parenting Resources
Family Life Ministry Resources


Effectively Prepare for VBS


Effectively Prepare for VBS by Praying to the One Apart from Whom We Can Do Nothing
Vacation Bible School can consume a lot of time and energy that can yield minimal eternal good if we don’t effectively prepare for VBS. Effectiveness doesn’t come through picking a great theme, a lot of fun activities, enthusiastic teachers and workers, etc. but rather by the power of the Lord at work in and through it. Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing of eternal value (Jn. 15:5). Because He is the Vine and we are the branches, we find our sustenance and strength in Him to bear fruit. He must therefore be a critical part of our preparation if we want VBS to truly be effective.

4 Critical Steps to Effectively Prepare for VBS

When we truly believe what Jesus said, that apart from Him we can do nothing, then we will take steps to make sure seeking after Him in prayer becomes a part of all we do. Consequently, these four steps will be the most critical steps you can take in preparing for Vacation Bible School.

STEP 1:  Envision what VBS can be through prayer.

  • What does GOD want to accomplish through it?
  • Who does GOD want it to target?

STEP 2:  Envelop the whole process in prayer.

  • Ask God if there is a time best suited for what He wants to do through it and then put it on the church calendar.
  • Ask God about the best format to use … traditional, rotation, etc.
  • Ask God for wisdom in choosing the curriculum and developing the theme.
  • Ask God to help you be a wise steward of the allotted VBS budget and for creativity in raising extra needed to accomplish His answer to step 1.
  • Ask God to raise up gifted and impassioned leaders, teachers, and helpers for the various aspects … Bible lesson, crafts, snacks, games/recreation, etc.
  • Ask God to show you the best way to train the VBS staff.
  • Ask God for help in promoting VBS so you use the right means to attract the people He wants to attend.
  • Ask God for wisdom in maximizing the use of the facilities and church grounds by designating what areas should be used for the different parts of the program and also for room assignments.
  • Ask God to help you not to miss the many details that need to go into this such as collecting all the supplies, decorating, etc.
  • Ask God to motivate people to come to VBS as you begin pre-registration.

Step 3:  Enlist the prayer support of others right from the start.

  • Recruit a prayer support team specifically chosen to pray for VBS, often good to include those who cannot be physically involved in VBS.
  • Lead the VBS staff to keep praying from the moment they are recruited by giving them specifics of what they can pray for as the time approaches.
  • Gather the VBS staff to pray together each day of VBS prior to beginning the session.

Step 4:  Engage the entire congregation in praying for VBS.

  • Keep them updated about the vision and needs.
  • Plan a special time the Sunday before Vacation Bible School begins to invite the VBS staff to come forward and be prayed over.

Wherever you are in the planning process for this year’s VBS, it isn’t too late to implement these critical steps. Be ready, however, to make some changes as a result if you’ve been seeking effectiveness apart from the Lord.