Every Member a YOUTH Minister

David Brown, Pinnacle Associate

Baptist churches that I knew growing up used to rally participation with the phrase: “every member a minister.” That may be a line common to other Christian traditions as well. But what if we turned this phrase a bit and asked what it would mean to consider “every member a YOUTH minister.”

Studies have shown that teenagers who have five or more non-parent adults who are actively involved in their lives are much more likely to develop positive traits in their life and to avoid negative behaviors. Yet, many of our churches talk about youth ministry primarily as the responsibility of one paid, professional youth minister. Youth ministry programs operate largely outside of or parallel to the activities of the larger church. And space devoted to youth ministry tends to be the building across the street, the basement, or the third floor, keeping teenagers physically distant from the rest of the congregation.

If your church wants to work against these trends, wants to wrestle with the idea of “every member a youth minister,” here are some places to start. Below are some ideas of how every adult in your congregation might devote themselves to ministry with the teenagers in your congregation: in one minute per week, ten minutes per week, one hour per week, or one week/weekend per year.

Be a youth minister in one minute per week by:
• Paying attention to the teenagers around you – in the pews and hallways and in the community.
• Introduce yourself and learn their names
• Ask them about the things going on in their lives; begin to discover the things they are passionate about
• Pray for them as worship begins
Be a youth minister in ten minutes per week by:
• Committing to pray daily for the teenagers in your church and community; pray as specifically as you can for them, by name
• Writing a letter/email, making a phone call, or sending a text message
• Engaging a teenager in conversation
Be a youth minister in one hour per week by:
• Mentoring a teenager
• Helping to lead in the weekly youth ministry activities of your church
• Teach a youth Sunday School class or lead a small group
Be a youth minister in one week (or weekend) per year by:
• Chaperoning a youth retreat or summer camp
• Participating in a youth or intergenerational mission immersion

When you and your congregation commit to a model of shared youth ministry that involves far more adults than one paid, professional youth minister, everyone wins. You enrich your own life and your connection to God and others, while enriching the lives of the teenagers in your midst. You preserve the life and health (and increase the effectiveness) of your paid, professional youth minister. And you move toward and beyond your congregation’s natural threshold for ministry and into the places where God can do abundantly more than we can ask or imagine.

So, are you ready?

To find out more about how Pinnacle can help with your student ministries, contact David Brown at davidb@pinnaclelead.com