What I’ve Learned Part 2: What We Aren’t Communicating

Just got done doing a series in our adult worship called, Lost Involvement where we’ve been looking at the next generation entering into college and the working world over the next few years.  The series was inspired by Tim Elmore’s Generation iY, but it allowed us as a church to really explain on a large scale:

  • Why We Do Youth Ministry
  • How We Do Youth Ministry

While the results were phenomenal, what we were also able to discover is that there has been a lot that they we haven’t been clearly communicating to adults and parents.  Here are a few of those areas:

  • The Power Of Small Groups – We believe as a church, life change is going to happen in small groups because of the relationships that students build.  We found that parents thought our groups were of a more traditional Sunday School format, which acted as a deterrent because 1) there teens didn’t need more religion if they went to Catholic School 2) they had a bad experience of Sunday School themselves.  What Changed: We began to tell the stories of students and small group leaders who had witnessed and experienced life change.  What this did was paint the story, never underestimate the power of story.
  • We Are Really Here For Parents – A statistic that sticks out to our family ministry team is the 40/3000 principle from Reggie Joiner’s Think Orange curriculum.  It challenges you to think, “What am I doing with to make the 40 hours a year I spend with students to bleed over into the 3000 parents have?” Unfortunately, parents saw as another activity for their teens, something to make them more well rounded. What Changed: After introducing the 40/3000 principle, we explained to parents that we are a resource that will partner them up with God loving adults who will pour into their teens with the same Christian values that they share.  What needed to be communicated were the power of relationships.
  • Vision Will Help You Commit – Our hope is that our ministers will not just commit to ministry for one year but for the entire duration of a teen’s journey (4 years).  We were having trouble keeping ministers on board, the turnover rate for years was making it hard to get there.  When leaders lose commitment, so will the students.  What Changed: We drilled home vision.  Just as we were telling parents that we were connecting them to adults who were going to walk with them, we were revealing to our volunteer ministers the power of walking with a student for several years.  What we started to communicate was investment and not commitment, because with an investment you will see fruit bear.


Granted our student ministry is blessed to have had the platform and the backing of our pastor to clearly communicate to the adults of our church.  And, while I would encourage you to talk to your pastor about how the church can get behind you in a similar fashion I would challenge you to do two things:

  1. Be Focused – Know exactly what you want to say, and how you want to say it.
  2. Be Patient – Know that if you say something once, you’ll have to say it a thousand more times until it begins to sink in.

What areas of youth ministry do you feel are the most difficult to communicate?

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