Asking the right questions in Youth Ministry!

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Youth Bible Study Resources
by Rob Lamont
Rob Lamont started paid youth Ministry in 1978 and is evangelical, reformed, (That means Bible believing) and has written these resources from a Biblically conservative position.

Rob has worked for such groups as Bible Society and Scripture Union and is a Westminster Presbyterian Minister.

Rob currently is the Scripture teacher and chaplain at Kellyville High School ( A state High School in Sydney , Au)
where he teaches Christian Education, runs 3 Bible studies and 6 prayer groups) He also coordinates Scripture teaching for Rouse Hill High School. He has preached for over 20 different denominations
and lectured at numerous Bible Colleges.

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Asking the right questions in Ministry!

by Rob Lamont

Return to Youth Ministry Resources List               Return to Christian Youth Resources Home Page

RULE ONE: What has happened in the past doesn't have to happen in the future!
RULE TWO: Discipleship doesn't have to be boring.
RULE THREE: Youth can spiritually grow and know Christ personally.
RULE FOUR: Guilt is not a good way to find people for ministry.
RULE FIVE: Christian conversion and growth is a process not just an event.
RULE SIX: Ministries needs to be planned not just happen by chance.

Well someone at church said "Hey, we are looking for a new Youth leader, what about you?"

You say yes and its down the road to the local Christian bookshop for 10,000 bits of mega youth clip art (brochures are covered),a book on awesome games for the brain dead and hyperventilating (activities covered), a huge book of radical youth studies (talks are right) so now return home thinking have a forgotten anything. YES! Buy lots of food.

You still however have this awful feeling that you have forgotten something. It is a bit like going on holidays thinking you left the oven on. The first priority in youth ministry or any ministry is why are we doing it? How does it fit into the ministry life of the church? How will this help people in their spiritual walk?

The aim of this book is to give you a working model on how to plan your ministry. It may end up giving you more questions than answers, but I pray that it will let you focus on Jesus and what he is calling you to do.

Hebrews 12:1-3 "Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won't let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side of God's throne! So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from sinners. Then you won't get discouraged and give up." (CEV)

A place to just keep kids off the street.
Some churches will say " we have all these youth roaming the streets, we need a place for them to go."

Thus a low key youth group may start. The problem is the group is only on Friday night, so what stops them from wandering the streets on Saturday or Wednesday or even after the group finishes. Outreaching and reaching the lost is excellent but a group that only keeps them off the street is selling itself out short.

If such a group is run, the leaders need to think through "what are we going to do if someone gets 'saved'". Will we provide a second group in which to grow. Bridging ministries are excellent as long as they make a bridge to somewhere.

A group that holds them in the church until they are adults.

If you put your arm in plaster to save it for the future will it grow strong or end up withered. Those ministries that are waiting for youth to 'come of age' will find that they are creating wishy washy adults and will find no point in taking up serious discipleship. You will be creating a group of lazy young Christians who when they take up leadership will not have a strong kingdom passion but will like to stay with the norm!

Secondly, such a group can quickly degenerate into being only a social group. The result of many such groups is disintegration when the members get there own cars or licences and are able to go further afield for entertainment.

God hasn't set up churches to try and outdo the "world' in entertainment but to reach, minster and equip for ministry!

A fun factory

Youth Ministry is not a choice between fun and serious but each program must ask of itself. " Will this program as a whole help people to know Christ?"

If your energies are tied up in preparing the games more that the studies then you run the risk of having a group of consumers. Many a church has sought to have such a great social program to hold the youth, that have only ended up giving their young people a desire to "party". The Church is not in competition with the world on who can provide the most fun.

Is your program geared to be consumed or aimed at helping people to love God and each other? We must be on our guard that popularity is not mixed up with spirituality and that personality is not mixed up with holy living.

The Church of tomorrow

Youth are not the church of tomorrow but are of the church TODAY. They need to be seen are people who can pray, love God, share their faith, financially support the church, discuss faith etc. Because a person is tithing off of $4 and thus gives only 40 cents doesn't put mean that their giving in not significant. For this is training them for what they should do when they get full incomes.

What are about the youth who wander the streets...

This desire can also be for youth who... suicide, are latch key children, etc "what about the .... youth?"

Our society has many sorrows, but to merely feel bad about the injustices of society doesn't deal with the deeper issue that EVERYONE NEEDS CHRIST.

RULE ONE: What has happened in the past doesn't have to happen in the future!

So much of Youth Ministry and for that matter many ministries in churches has been determined by a past generation. Sunday Schools have only been around for a little over a hundred years but most churches act as if they were started by the disciples. Most churches have been running youth groups for less than fifty years. Small group Bible study groups for many churches have been operating for less than thirty years.

Although we must learn from the past, it does not limit how we will minister in the future. Some churches have always run a Friday night ministry. Friday nights are not sacred! Youth groups don't have to sing or play games to fulfil the great commission.

It is wise to consider the direction of the past program to see how it fits in with you aims and strategy.

The other fear here, is that some people think that anything of the past is bad and the lot should be thrown out. Consider that the average youth leader lasts two years and you realise that if this model is followed then you will have three or four different programs for youth as they go through High School.

RULE TWO: Discipleship doesn't have to be boring.

Some groups treat the social as the fun time and the religious part as what we have to get through.

Yes, it is true that most non-Christian are not excited by being disciples. But the aim of discipleship is to grow Christians. You ministry needs to provide opportunities where Christians can be equipped for ministry and provided opportunities to grow.

I have always been delighted to hear young Christians share their faith with their friends, and it is great excitement when a young person leads a friend to a saving faith in Christ.

Discipleship is not a comprehension test or purely a competition on who can argue the best, but an opportunity to help people grow spiritually.

RULE THREE: Youth can spiritually grow and know Christ personally.

Serious Bible Study doesn't damage the brain. We can mix up lack of interest by some, to equal lack of interest by all. When planning a study do take their age into account. Don't make the questions go over their heads. Try to remember what it was like at that age.

Sadly, there is not much around for High School students but is it worth searching and even ringing around Youth Workers to find out what they have found to be successful.

RULE FOUR: Guilt is not a good way to find people for ministry.

Great lines that should never be used in churches to get people for ministry include

 * If you don't help the group will close.
 * Do you want our 14 year olds to go to hell!
 * You are single and have a car, I am sure that God wants you to lead the youth group.
 * God told me that you would be our next youth leader.
 * You normally do nothing on Sunday morning....
 * Want an excuse for getting out of Church...

Using guilt or manipulation may get a person to do a job but it will rarely call them to a life long ministry. Jesus asked us to carry the cross and gave us a model of the suffering servant. He calls us to participate in his Kingdom, not manipulated us to fill in vacancies only.

RULE FIVE: Christian conversion and growth is a process not just an event.

Growing as a Christian is a life long process. The aim of ministry is to give people the skills to be able to do this for the rest of their life. Such areas as regular quiet times, an understanding on what is a Christian, an outline of the doctrines, themes and flow of Scripture help lead to a self supporting faith. When working with youth understand that their maturity cannot be measured the same as an adults. A person fresh in high School does not have the maturity of an adult.

RULE SIX: Ministries needs to be planned not just happen by chance.



Some of the reasons for being in youth work initially may include

 * There is a gap in the youth group leadership.
 * No other leaders available.
 * Wanting to do something for God but are unsure on what.
 * Friends who are youth leaders
 * Lonely or a desire to fit in.
 * A deep calling to God to fulfil the great commission. (Matt 28:20)

The average full time Youth Worker lasts around two years per Church and it is rare to have volunteers who stay in youth work any longer. (This can range in different denominations and with the increase in professional training)

Most volunteer youth workers have received no training in youth ministry, and rarely receive financial support to go to courses to improve their working knowledge.

Yet during youth is when most people make a decision for Christ. This age is foundational to how people will walk the Christian life. The lessons learnt here about prayer, giving, commitment, evangelism etc. form the starting point to eternity.

Youth work is not just a fun thing to do, but a ministry that has definite eternal consequences. Ministry is part of fulfilling our responsibility to God to reach this generation, to equip them so they may reach others.

No matter which reason has started you off, you need to plan what you hope to achieve in Youth Ministry. No matter if your group has six people in a Sunday morning or you organise a thousand person program, you need to consider the direction of the group and what you hope to achieve.


Some youth leaders will want to reach the lost, others want to help believers grow. So how do you plan a strategy?

Before any ministry is embarked upon you need to consider what you hope to achieve and what are the steps that are going to get you there. The aim of this short book is to consider five questions. These five questions will help you to plan a ministry for the future that will last!