The New Year is upon us, and you may be re-evaluating youth ministry in the new year. Perhaps you’re looking for ways to freshen up your ministry, or maybe you need a complete overhaul. Either way, we’ve got some tips for making this year the best year ever for your youth group.

Start the Year with a Bang

As your students come back after Christmas break, don’t wait until school starts to get your youth ministry hopping again. Start the year with a bang by scheduling a New Year’s party. We suggest a new year lock-in. If your church isn’t a good location, do a lock-in at a local gym or a willing volunteer’s home. Schedule a lot of fun lock-in activities. Our picks include a scavenger hunt and a lot of fun Xbox Kinect games. There are a lot of party games for lock-ins, so take a look on Amazon for some deals, as well as a variety of Kinect games.

Get Your Resources in Check

Make sure you’re ready to tackle the new year with your group by getting your resources in check. This means finding a couple of good websites to follow for great ideas, as well as scheduling a couple of youth pastor conferences during the year for refreshers. We also recommend subscribing to a Group Magazine Subscription (1 Year) – 6 Physical Issues. They are full of ideas relevant to today’s youth ministry. You’ll find youth camps, retreat ideas, sermon ideas, volunteer resources and more freebies in their magazine. And at $2.49 an issue, we consider it a bargain.

Try Something New

This year, instead of sticking with the same old tired way of doing ministry, why not beef it up by adding some variety to your services. For example, if in the past you just showed up with a sermon on Wednesday night, why not plan out your entire year by themes. We recommend something different each month. Do a four-week series each month on a particular topic. February is a good time to discuss all things love and dating with teenagers. Other theme ideas include missions, tough issues (depression, divorce, etc), the cross, prayer, honor, and just about any other topic you can think of. Be sure to promote each series with posters, post cards, information on your website, funny skits, media and games. If you have the resources, end each series with a fun event night that kids can bring friends to and you can promote the next series at.

Find Some Filler

Free up your time and reduce stress by anticipating the moments during the year when business can prevent you from having a well-prepared service. Instead of throwing something together or having a game night with no spiritual substance, go ahead and create five or six filler services that are ready when you need them. That way, if you have a family emergency or a busy week at the church, you’ll seem very well prepared despite your lack of time and energy.

Our suggestions for great filler include the Nooma – Nooma Pick 6 from Rob Bell, or one of the Simply Youth Ministry complete sermons from Doug Fields. They add a lot of new sermons throughout the year and are available for immediate download, complete with a message, media and youth outlines. Want some ideas that really make an impact? Try the One Month to Live – Download, which teaches teens about living as though you only had one month left on this Earth.

Renew Your Relationship with Your fVolunteers

Volunteers are the oft-too-forgotten part of our ministries. The simple truth is, they want to be a lot more involved than you think, but they also want to be thanked. Instead of only scheduling volunteer meetings with instructional information, have monthly appreciation gatherings at your home. Try a pot-luck and game night to bond with your team. Pray together, and toss around ideas. They’ll appreciate feeling more a part of the direction of the ministry, rather than a herd of cattle being pushed in a single direction.

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Filed under: Leaders OnlyYouth Group IdeasYouth Ministry Resources

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