How To Get Teens Plugged In And Serving

Growing up I saw a few teenagers serving at church, but never knew how they got plugged in.  Outside of altar serving it’s like you needed a special connection.  Someone had to pull strings if you were going to serve with other adults.  It was a little frustrating.

It’s important for teenagers to serve in your parish.  It will inspire other generations and teach them how to behave as the church body.  

Teenagers want to get involved at your church, they just need to get plugged in.  As a youth minister you need to work with the rest of your staff.  Create a system where you:


Teens need to feel like they have permission to serve alongside of adults.  Even if they see their peers you need to invite them.  They want to feel like they are wanted.  To do that effectively:

  • Paint Them The Vision
  • Remind Them They Are A Part Of The Church Body
  • Share Stories Where Their Peers Have Made An Impact

The more it’s clear to them that they are meant to serve, the more likely they’ll get plugged in. 


To get involved in many churches it feels like we have to move heaven and earth.  Make it accessible by being clear on the steps.  

Let them know where they can serve and how to sign up or apply.  Create an orientation or a document that explains what they can expect.  The more accessible the more teenagers will engage.


It’s one thing to get teenagers signed up, it’s another to get them to serve again.  Make sure their first experience serving is successful.  Give them:

  • A role with responsibility
  • Keep it simple  
  • Partner them up with a veteran who loves serving

Help them see the instant rewards one gets from being plugged into a ministry.


Teens want to serve because they see their peers serving.  Make sure they feel connected to the entire community by inviting them to team building events.  

Help them learn the names of the other teenagers, men and women who serve alongside of them.  A deeper sense of commitment comes with community.


Getting teenagers plugged into your church is another way of investing in the future.  Help teenagers grow in leadership by taking them to events, retreats and conferences (Check out Student Leadership Conference).  

Give them leadership materials (Check out Leader Treks) and challenge them to think differently.  When a teenager feels the investment you made they’ll take their involvement more seriously.

Teens serving in the church has a profound impact.  Other generations will be inspired and it will build energy on the weekend.  People will feel like they are part of a movement and your church will feel like it has new life.

Question: How are you plugging teens into ministry at your church?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • tom_lelyo

    Another important element is partnering with those who are the leaders in those ministries. Some ministry leaders are great at working with adults, but don’t have the experience/patience with younglings. I.e. grumpy sacristans 😛

    • Tom,

      Great point. It’s not just about setting the students up for success, but bringing the adults along. Great point.