So if you read my previous post about taking over a youth ministry (Starting a Youth Ministry from Scratch, Part One),you should have a good idea of how to create a game plan for your first year of ministry. After you have analyzed, planned and begun connecting with kids, its on to step two: being culturally relevant.

1.Brush up on your jargon. No, this isn’t permission for you to start acting like you’re 14 again.  Quite frankly, neither you nor your teenagers want to see that kind of a mess. Instead, it is important to find out what the kids are talking about in “code” language. Do you know what cutting is? What about a “co-pilot?” What if you overhear a teen talking about “bagging” or taking a “bummer trip?” These are all VERY important terms to understand. All of the previous ones imply dangerous and possibly life-threatening situations. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to throw in some “teen speak” in some of your messages. Just don’t go overboard.

2. Learn to text. Nobody answers the phone anymore. And if you think that email is the way to go, then you are “like so 1999.” Please understand that 90% of your successful communication with teenagers is going to be via text or Facebook. If you don’t have a profile, make one NOW. In fact, create a youth group fanpage as well and promote it to the group. I’ll be sure to post a guide to Facebook for youth groups soon.

3. Learn teen text talk. This is different than slang. Text talk seems like a series of code or letters to most adults, but is easily understood between teens. See my post on teenage text language and abbreviations to brush up.

4. Make sure your  youth room is kickin. There are some awesome 38-light stage lights for under $170 at Amazon. Short on cash and can’t quite swing that much? There are some low budget stage lights available as well. Check out my previous post on low budget youth ministry. I list some cheap suggestions towards the bottom of the post.

5. Make some stinkin t-shirts. Kids love youth group t-shirts and they are quick and easy to do. Custom Ink has done my t-shirts and are the only ones I personally order from. Their quality is stellar and shipping is always free. Minimum t-shirt order is only 1 shirt, but they can handle hundreds, if not thousands. My last t-shirt order was placed, created, approved and delivered to my front door in just nine days. Rush delivery is available too. They also do fun cups, hats, hoodies, totes and pens. Short on creativity? Throw something together with their free design generator. It’s a fun tool to play around with. Design Christian T-Shirts Online! Save $10 Enter AP10 at Checkout

6. BUILD A WEB SITE! That’s in all caps because I cannot stress the importance enough. Your website (or lack thereof) says a lot about your ministry. Don’t have any experience building websites? That’s okay…because I didn’t either before I built this one. Let me just tell you, stop what you are doing and head over to Bluehost now. You’ll pay less than $7 per month to host a rockin site that you can use to link to and from your blog, facebook and your main church website. There are all kinds of cool ways to set up parent log-in areas, student log-in areas and more, and Bluehost can walk you through the entire process. Your youth group website can run easily off of wordpress, which offers several free templates with a one-click install. And yep, you can do all of that through Bluehost. In fact, use this link, and you can Host Unlimited Domains on 1 Account $6.95 Per Month

Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry