Trends That Will Reshape Youth Ministry
Perhaps you’ve noticed the changes that are happening in the church world today. There’s no doubt that as the methods and messages in our faith communities transform, our youth ministries are sure to follow in the same direction. Check out these youth ministry trends that are sure to reshape how you impact students’ lives.
Trend #1. Community on Mission
It seems as though the days of aspiring to building churches with lots of congregants are in the rearview. Many church networks have seen a rise in smaller groups on mission in communities. These groups are an extension of the bigger church and operate like a family of about a few dozen or so. This new style of church is sure to change the way you effectively reach the youth at your church. Lean into these hubs and empower your community to gather this way whenever you’re not all together at Sunday services.
Trend #2. A Part of the Plan
A rise in intergeneration at churches means inclusion when planning how senior pastors define their mission. Don’t be surprised if there’s more integration of your youth ministry’s operations when churches are planning their big picture efforts. Get a head start on this trend by inviting your next gen staff and volunteers to planning meetings regarding your church and how you serve your community.
Trend #3. Service Integration
In the past, the plans for youth services were probably done apart from your Sunday rhythm. Although that has worked traditionally, new patterns in youth ministry today suggest that young people are no longer interested in the separation of adult and youth ministry services. Consider finding new ways to include elements of your Sunday experience that acknowledge and engage the youth at your church.
Trend #4. Tough Topics
Whether it’s politics or current events, the topic of conversation is expanding for the young people in your youth ministry. As authenticity and safety become emerging trends at churches everywhere, prepare your church by making time and safe spaces to foster informed conversations. This can take place online or in physical spaces at your church. However it works best for your community, ensure that the opportunity to talk is always an option for the youth you serve.
Trend #5. All Hands on Deck
An increase in your youth ministry means you’ll need an increase in discipleship and leadership. As a result, you’ll also experience an increase in volunteer leaders and mentors. This doesn’t mean you’ll need to bump up your budget and staff but it does mean there may be opportunities for volunteers to jump in and pour into the next generation. You can prepare for this by creating the tiles and responsibilities for these roles before the need inundates your staff and volunteers.
Trend #6. New Leadership
With a predicted increase in responsibility over your youth ministry, you can expect that it might require older and more long-lasting leadership too. This could mean changes in the types of candidates you recruit for pastoring youth ministry at your church full-time. The trends suggest that what used to be a part-time role for a young twenty-something year-old might be better suited for more experienced candidates who plan to serve at your church for the long haul. Give your youth ministry the hired staff member it needs by vetting your candidates with this shift in mind.
Trend #7. Youth Workers
No doubt, your youth workers and volunteers will experience changes in the structure for your youth ministry. You can plan for this by setting up specific times to analyze the trends you’re seeing at your own church regarding this change and preparing your youth workers sooner, rather than later.
Trend #8. Ministry Growth
With a new emphasis on the whole family, you may be surprised to see how your children’s and youth ministry will gain popularity over other ministries at your church soon. There can be an influx in volunteer workers and leaders wanting to change where they may have been previously giving their time and talents at your church. Lead this change from the front by being transparent with the people who serve at your church. Create a healthy way for them to explore possible changes in their desires to serve in any one particular place. Encourage adventurous servitude at your church and help people find the places that bring them most purpose at your church.
Trend #9. Technology Tools
Smartphones and digital engagement has changed the way children and teens learn. This will certainly effect the youth at your church as well. As you strategize on how you can reach, engage, and teach the students in your youth ministry, don’t forget to include technology in the plans. Leaders in tech, such as Apple and Microsoft are constantly hosting developers’ conferences, where they preview and demonstrate new tech. Mark your calendar for these online events and stay in the know about how great of a tool technology can be for connecting with your youth ministry.
Trend #10. In With the New
The success of your church will hinge on your willingness to usher in new ideas. The mission and message of the church will always be the same but it doesn’t mean we can’t be strategic with our methods. There’s so much value in tradition but trends can inform our efforts as well. Don’t shy away from bringing in new and fresh perspectives that challenge your current methods and encourages potential for growth in your youth ministry.
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