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Movie Night

723171: Engaging Parents As Allies  
  In Engaging Parents as Allies, author and Youth Specialties co-founder Wayne Rice supplies successful, step-by-step strategies to relate to parents and earn their trust, teach teens to honor and obey their parents, involve parents in ministry at multiple levels, and make the home an extension of your ministry.   













316007: You Were Made to Make A Difference  
            Helping kids do what their spirit longs to do, serving in their God-designed way, helps them connect firmly with their church family. Max Lucado and his daughter Jenna have adapted Outlive Your Life for teens who want to change their world! Click on book to order. Just $9.99. Makes a great encouraging gift for your student leaders.
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Keeping teenagers interested in attending church

This is a hot topic among parents, youth ministry leaders, and pastors (or it should be). Worship services, knowingly or not, target a certain age group. This group is adults. Lets face it, adults are the ones with the money. The sermon is geared for adults. High School age teens are somewhat OK with it too. I am not suggesting that we radically shift the entire focus of the Sunday morning service toward the youth.

However, most Sunday morning sermons bore middle school age teens to tears. That's why they don't want to attend. Even the best sermon, if not targeted to that age group, will be way over their heads. Their vocabulary skills and attention span just aren't mature enough yet.

By ignoring this subject and just forcing the kids to attend what they perceive is a boring service we are convincing them that ALL CHURCH IS BORING. Is it any wonder that by the time they are college age we never see them in the pew again? There are also those who flee their parents.

Here, then, are some suggestions about how to keep teens interested and involved in church:

56607: Do They Run When They See You Coming?: Reaching Out to Unchurched Teenagers Do They Run When They See You Coming?: Reaching Out to Unchurched Teenagers
By Jonathan McKee

This book educates youth workers and student leaders about the unchurched student, teens that aren't making it to church for some reason or another. This book gets in the mind of the unchurched student and examines what they think of God, of the church, and of Christians. It goes further to explore the needs of these individuals and the ministry methods that they actually respond to. This book doesn't just give information about this group that isn't making it inside the church walls, it provides tangible guidelines and attainable methods to reach them.

The Worship Service:
This is the part of the service with the songs. Not to be confused with the whole service, it's sometimes called the Praise Service. Make sure the worship leader is mindful of the younger members of the audience. Do a song or two in their age range every Sunday. You might even encourage the kids to come up and sing with the band occasionally. Prearrange this with the Sunday School teacher before hand so they're not uncomfortably surprised.

Dismiss the kids to their own Sunday School class during the sermon. Do not lump them in with "Children's Church". Visit my page Growing Your Youth Ministry for more on this. Teens actually are hungry for Bible study but they need it tailored to their level. The teacher does not necessarily need to be the youth group leader or youth pastor. You may find that you have some talented teachers among your older attendees. Equip them with my lesson plans to make teaching easier.

Feed them breakfast or a great snack.
Don't dismiss this off hand. The logistics aren't really that hard, Many kids come to church without breakfast. Trust me, they'll really appreciate it.

Feed them spiritually: Teach them the Bible. That's actually what they come for. They can get games and fun anywhere.

Sacraments, Guests, and special events:
Make sure you communicate well with the teacher so the kids remain in the sanctuary for communion, baptisms, or when you have a visiting missionary or a special event like a slide show of a recent mission trip. They like to be part of that. The idea is not to remove them from corporate worship or exclude them from the rest of the church family but to give them their own tailor-made lesson.

Let the kids sit together if they want (as long as they behave). The teacher might even join them.

Family Based Youth Ministry

Family-Based Youth MinistryFamily based youth ministry
After seeing appalling abuses of the term ”family-based” youth ministry I need to weigh in on the subject. Some churches have actually scrapped their youth ministry and Sunday Schools in preference of their misinterpretation of the concept of a “family-based” ministry. In reality this is actually a reaction to the lack of committed volunteers and/ or their lack of commitment to fund a Youth Pastor staff position. These churches now feel justified in shirking their responsibility to train the youth in Christian principles arguing that these separate classes and groups take the youth out of the life of the church body. In his book, "Family-Based Youth Ministry”, Mark DeVries does make the assertion that the current youth group model we have been following, if that is all a church is doing for it’s youth, fails the youth by not connecting them with adults within the body
of the church. Read the rest of this article.

Remember when you were a kid? Your Sunday School teacher dressed you in your Dad's white shirt, attached a giant red plastic bow and shoved you on stage in front of the whole church? You were mortified. Then why are these kids, now parents themselves, subjecting they're kids to the abuse? Soak up the advice contained on this website to make your Sunday School class fun, relevant, and successful. The book,"Controlled Chaos: Making Sense of Junior High Ministry'" (link in left column) is a good read. Except for the part about discontinuing Sunday School class I could have written it myself. Remember the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result.

Excuse junior high age kids, especially the boys, from the traditional children's Christmas play. Do not force them to participate in the children's choir or your churches traditional children's activities.

832432: Family-Based Youth Ministry Revised and Expanded Family-Based Youth Ministry Revised and Expanded
By Mark DeVries / Inter-varsity Press

In a culture that worships youth even as it abandons its young, this book gets adults, families and congregations involved. If you are disappointed with the results from the glitzy programs and entertaining activities you've used with your church's young people, then this is the book for you. Family-Based Youth Ministry is a multigenerational approach that takes seriously the job of discipling teens and building mature believers. This revised and updated edition continues to hold out its bold challenge: Young people belong in the life of their church, and the church belongs in the lives of its youth. Now featured is free curriculum for use with youth and young adults together.

Some tips on creating a "YOUTH-FRIENDLY environment in church:

If you watch youth and adults interact on a Sunday morning you may notice that even though they are interspersed in the crowd the adults are ignoring the kids. This does happen quite naturally because of several factors: 1. Adults are taller than most kids. They look right over them; 2. People are naturally self-absorbed. If they're not taught the value of relationships with kids they will simply tune them out.

Christians must be taught the importance of mentoring kids, all the kids. I have a bulletin insert that is one step. Older people must learn to pass the torch to the younger generation. The daunting task of changing the culture of an entire congregation must be supported by the senior pastor. Here are the suggestions from some members of Group's web forum on how to do that:

Announcements: Do the youth announcements during the main service. Better yet, have the kids do their announcements. The point is to keep them in the face of the grownups. Shoot a 1-minute video of the last fundraiser, tell how it went.

Convince the senior pastor to do a sermon on mentoring.

Attend your churches leadership board meetings. Give them updates on the youth program, progress and needs every time. Have them pray for the youth. Keep the kids in the front of their minds.

Celebrating the Christian Year Year by Martha Zimmerman

Would you like to explain the origins of the Holidays to your Sunday school class? How did Christmas and traditions of Santa Claus really begin? The word Holiday means "a special day set apart for a spiritual purpose", and most of the holidays, even Valentines Day, originated in the church.

In this neat book Martha Zimmerman presents the major Christian holidays of the year and gives the history behind each event. This book is a delightful read and a great reference.

Explaining why your church has certain traditions helps kids understand why your church does what it does. This will help them see that Christians are not just a bunch of rats in a maze doing what they've done year after year with no real spiritual thought

If you have a news letter write an article for every issue. Keep your kids in the eye of your church.

Have the kids pass out the bulletins at the door. They could do this with their parents like a team.

Have them be the greeters. They'll actually get into this and do a great job. One rainy day I saw them running out to the cars with umbrellas and escort the lady's inside.

Let the kids be part of the worship band. This may be a stretch for the worship leader who is more interested in a great performance than ministry. You'll just have to convince them.

Let them serve: Kids really want to be involved. Let them help in the kitchen, nursery (accept during class), and maintenance (shoveling, weeding, vacuuming). Encourage them to become active members of these committees with the adults. With the proper attitude from the adults helping the kids feels like full members of the group they will rise to the occasion and really do a good job.

Do not have "special" youth Sundays. Special implies special-ed to kids. This does not change the feeling of adults towards the youth. It still causes exclusion of the kids the rest of the time. Youth need to be integrated into the life of the church on a permanent basis not just special days. It needs to be a culture shift.


Good Question Sunday School Lessonsgoodquestions
by Josh Hunt

"The purpose of Good Question is to create these moments in the classroom each week. My goal is to help you create moments for your students. Moments that come and go but leave footprints. Footprints that forever mark the learner. Moments about which students will later say, "I remember one time we were talking in Sunday School and. . ." The learner is forever touched by that moment. Moments like that last forever--moments where the Spirit of God is forever present. It is in these moments that disciples are made." Read the rest of his article.

Prepare an interesting, application-oriented, discussion oriented lesson in less than an hour using Good Questions. Use this link:

Use this coupon code for a 10% discount: 7748

Keeping kids interested in church is not hard but it will take a shift from isolating the youth ministry as a separate entity to an integrated family based ministry involving the whole church.
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