One of the most amazing things you'll ever do in youth ministry is empower your students to take ownership of the youth ministry. After all, it's their ministry (or should be, if it's not).
I'll certainly never forget my youth pastor allowing me to serve and empowering me to do so. It all started with just letting me make the announcements and emcee youth group…and 18 years later I'm a youth worker myself and I'm not only empowering teens to take ownership of the ministry but I'm coaching other youth workers to follow some of the same steps I learned from my youth pastor!
I want to share with you 10 ways you can get teens to own the youth ministry:
1. Announcements! – I couldn't help but put this one on the list since it was my first role in youth group. Give up the mic to a teenager!
2. Games – If you plan to do a game (or two) during the course of your meeting together, have one of your students plan for the game and then allow them to run it!
3. Greeting – Have students be the first contact when someone walks through the doors of your facility. Prepare a welcome table and get a few students to welcome guests.
4. Snacks – I don't know about students in your ministry, but we have a few students who are really great bakers! They can whip up a batch of cookies in no time, too. Get a few teens who like baking (or maybe like eating?) to prepare the snacks for your youth group!
5. Photographer – We've got a few students who are amazing photographers. Because of their heart for ministry and their creative eye, we've made them our resident photographers! It may be easy to find out who these folks are…just check out their Facebook photos or notice the camera in their hand!
6. Prayer – I love when students lead our meetings in prayer. Solicit teens (ahead of time) who feel comfortable praying in front of your group and give them the mic!
7. Social media – Encourage your teens to take ownership of your youth group's Facebook page, Twitter or whatever social medium you use. Have students update your social media platforms (under your direction) and share your ministry with the world!
8. Connecting with other teens – Teens can come up with great ways to reach out to their peers. Allow your students to lead your group in connecting with new students and with those who might be missing in action too.
9. Lead mission & service projects – Pull together students who are excited about missions or serving and empower them to lead a project for your youth ministry. Help coach them through all the logistics, but let them coordinate the projects!
10. Sharing – One of the best decisions I ever made was giving up the mic to allow teens to share talks or stories with the group. You should coach teens who plan to share ahead of time, but empower them to teach or preach.
Encouraging and empowering your students to do the work of the ministry will go a long way in helping steer them away from being consumers and help them become life-long participants in the Kingdom.