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Don't push the "easy button." There are no easy answers or quick fixes that will lead to a strong youth ministry.
It is possible to build a lasting youth ministry that has a powerful impact on the lives of many students – if you lay down the right foundation first.
Be willing to put in lots of effort over a sustained period of time to invest in your church’s youth ministry for the long haul. Too often, youth ministry job postings are either too vague or filled with unrealistic expectations.
Rather than spending time trying to recruit a youth pastor with superstar qualities (like charisma, compassion, and creativity), build the kind of ministry infrastructure that will help any moderately gifted youth pastor thrive in his or her role. Create a directory of students, another directory of staff and volunteers, and a final directory of people who have visited your youth ministry during the past two to three years. The best time to consider a new initiative or trajectory in youth ministry is just before the momentum of the current focus has peaked. If the culture of your youth ministry isn’t healthy, change it before it changes the people working within it. When searching for the next youth pastor, focus on finding someone who can steward a vision much larger than himself or herself while serving at your church. Work to stay emotionally healthy yourself and help others who work with you in the youth ministry to do the same.
Avoid pursuing activities that distract you from focusing properly on the ministry’s core vision. Focus on the system first: whether staff members trust each other, whether staff and volunteers are working with clear expectations, whether the ways people typically get things done in the ministry are productive, etc. Every five years or so, bring key stakeholders together to cast a fresh vision for the ministry. First work to give stakeholders visible evidence that something good is actually happening in the ministry. Clearly communicate the direction in which the ministry is heading so your next youth pastor will help take it there instead of in another direction.



Don’t make your decisions on the basis of your feelings, which depend on changing circumstances and are unreliable.
Keep in mind that the best results will likely come from activities like spending time with students, developing a volunteer team, and doing strategic planning.
Make sure that the adults are connected to each other as well as to the students, with everyone working together to shine as brightly as possible. Studies have shown that what matters most to students is finding a welcoming environment where they can be themselves and build quality friendships. Don’t worry about trying to design your youth group like a successful group at another church, buying more technology, adding more events to your calendar, etc. DeVries has served since 1986 as associate pastor for youth and their families at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee.
Keep in mind that systemic changes must be built deliberately over a course of years for even the best content to reach students well. Make one small change after another and trust that, slowly but surely, bigger changes will result. Remember that the youth pastor and all other staff and volunteers are really just interim workers.
Emphasize two basic goals: growing the youth group to reach more students, and creating a ministry that the students will enjoy. Base your decisions on biblical principles that remain the same no matter what your current circumstances. Be sure to build in enough time to reflect on what you’re doing regularly and keep thinking and praying about how to best meet your goals. Before making any significant change, listen to people’s concerns and adjust your plans as necessary. He has trained youth workers on five continents and has taught courses or been a guest lecturer at a number of colleges and seminaries. Write job descriptions that clearly outline the scope of staff and volunteer position responsibilities.


Pay your new youth pastor as well as you can, because he or she is most likely to stay if fairly compensated. Instead of running from pain, find God at work in the middle of the pain and see what you can learn from it.
Then give people annual reviews and be willing to revise their job descriptions if necessary. Instead, learn from the criticism and work with your critics to find creative solutions to problems.
In addition, his articles and reviews have been published in a variety of journals and magazines. Build a master recruiting list by deciding how many volunteers the ministry needs for the coming year and who the most likely prospects are to call.
Use stories and metaphors to affirm the progress you see and to encourage others to notice God at work in the ministry.
Hold three different kinds of ministry meetings: daily meetings of just a few minutes at the beginning of each day to clarify priorities, weekly tactical meetings, and strategic meetings either every month or every quarter. Set expectations for problems to be solved gradually over the course of years instead of pursuing futile quick fixes. Use rituals, traditions, signs, and symbols to cultivate a positive sense of community identity within the ministry. Help volunteers build friendships with each other, and encourage them to remain committed to volunteering with the youth ministry for at least several years so they can see growth occur in students’ lives. Give new volunteers a thorough orientation, regularly check in with all your volunteers, and celebrate the good work that your volunteers are doing.



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