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Leading a Middle School Youth Group

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Practical Tips For Helping Grieving Teens

Movie Night


A super easy way to accept credit cards is The Square. Plug it into any i-Device, download the free app and you're set.

Disciple Making Teachers; How to Equip Adults for Growth and Action This book by Josh Hunt gives many practical tips for creating an environment conducive to learning.


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Here are some simple do's and don'ts for Christian youth group ministry success. For some "gifted" youth leaders these suggestions are
no-brainers. However, I've actually seen all don't ideas practiced in various churches so some youth leaders may need the hints:

Ten ways to create a great
youth group:

1. Arrive early. Make sure the lights are on, make room temp comfortable, and get the music pumping. Get the snacks out. Greet them with excitement.

2. Create a party atmosphere with Christmas lights or other party lights as your budget can afford. Have activities like ping-pong and video games ready to play. More on my blog.

3. Provide them a safe place to relax and be themselves. Let them laugh and holler, wiggle and giggle. Have as few rules as possible. Never scold for spills or messes. Never yell at them.

4. Come prepared but be flexible: Have several lesson plans ready to go. Read the kids' mood and select the plan that best suits their needs that day. Be flexible. Some days they just need to vent. Be prepared to listen sympathetically. Sometimes they just want to play.

5. Surprise them: Wear a costume that fits the lesson. Show movie clips sometimes. Have a game with great prizes. Have a particularly good snack or meal. Have extra activities like movie night at your house, or a shopping trip.

6. Learn their names, favorite snacks, like's and dislikes. Remember their birthdays. Send them cards. Attend their sports events and plays. Sit together in church. Celebrate them.

7. Be consistent: Meet at the same place and time every week. Provide a clear biblical message each time.

8: Serve them: Refill their cups, bring the chips over, reheat their tots. Spoil them.

9. Provide great snacks. Click here for great snack suggestions.

10. Pray, Pray Pray! Ask them for their prayer requests weekly. Ask them for an update on the prayer request a couple weeks later.

Ten ways to kill your youth group:

1. Show up to the youth group meeting 10 minutes late. Let the kids stand outside in the dark then wait for you to set everything up.

2. Assign an elder to do the group as his duty. After all, teaching is an elders spiritual gift whether they like it or not. Never hire a youth pastor.

3. Drag them to the old-folks home to sing hymns as a service project whether they are spiritually mature enough or not.

4. Insist they call you Mr. & Mrs. to show proper respect. Have them raise their hands to speak during lesson time, sit quietly, and pay attention, just like school. Punish them if they don't.

5. Arrive with no lesson plan. Just shoot from the hip. They can have a party anywhere. The one thing you offer them is solid biblical teaching. Deprive them of that and they won't come back.

6. Do the same thing every time. Do not do fun side activities.

7. Never learn their names. Do not talk to them except when in class.

8. Siphon the kids off to help in the nursery and younger grade Sunday School classes.

9. Make them pay for their snacks or don't bother providing any at all.

10. Never pray for them.

If you are doing anything in this column, click here:
Leading a Middle School youth group

14577EB: Ready-to-Go Fundraisers - eBook Ready-to-Go Fundraisers - eBook
By Abingdon Press

The unique benefit of the Ready-to-Go series is that these activity materials go beyond merely offering ideas. Ready-to-Go resources, instead, provide fully developed activity and event plans. These allow the youth leader to host youth activities of substance and quality, with a minimal up-front time investment.

Fund Raising Ideas:

In one church the youth group had an espresso machine. On Sunday they set up a deluxe coffee table in the lobby. They also invested in flavored syrups, whip cream, and some spices. It was really good and the church attendees were happy to pay.  This industrious group also made bracelets, necklaces and other items. 

I've also seen kids sell valentines packages that contained homemade cookies wrapped in colored cellophane with a heart shape helium balloon attached. These were delivered on valentines day to that special someone.

Poinsettia sales are also productive around Christmas. Frequently your local grocery store can be talked in to selling them to your group at a discount and even taking back the ones you don't sell.

Through the Bible in 12 Weeks: 12 Lessons to Help Students Navigate the Big Picture

Through the Bible in 12 Weeks: 12 Lessons to Help Students Navigate the Big Picture
This highly experiential study uses narration, conversation, and art to relate a powerful overview of God's big story--as revealed in the Bible! Teenagers will explore how this dynamic assortment of ancient books is interlinked, purposeful, and part of an ongoing adventure. They'll gain a better understanding of God's dealings with people throughout the history of the world--from Creation to the present, and into the future. To help them grasp the "big picture," teens will design a mural and add to it each week, developing a panoramic view of God's story. They'll see how they're part of His story, how their roots go back to Creation, and that their future can be in the New Creation. Great for young adult small groups!

There is a print version and a downloadable version. You can download a sample chapter (the first 22 pages of the book for free). I got some butcher paper from the butcher at the grocery store and pinned in to the wall. The mural was awesome. A treasure for the whole class.
Ten ways to create a great Christian youth group: Successful youth group ministry is easy with these simple tips. The kids in your youth group can easily tell if you care about them in your heart. Youth ministry might could be considered a spiritual gift. If you care about youth you will be spiritually blessed.
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