Each youth has unique gifts and abilities that can be used in service to the congregation and community. Congregations should provide opportunities for them to use those gifts in service while making meaningful contributions to the community of believers. Parents and supportive adults are key in helping identify a young person’s gifts, experience, ability and passion and directing them to existing opportunities to serve or designing new ones.
Healthy youth ministry invests in a variety of ways for youth to make meaningful contributions to their congregation. Meaningful contributions can include inviting their input into important congregational decisions or listening to their feedback after a service opportunity. Some youth will be ready for contributions beyond a meaningful impact into load-bearing leadership. Young leaders need to be coached, encouraged, and debriefed every step of the way. While service and leadership can be encouraged in a variety of places across the congregation, age specific youth ministry is a key place for service opportunities and for new leaders to be developed. Leadership of peers can be especially impactful on both the leader and on the youth in your ministry.
Resources for Service and Leadership Opportunities
Resources encourage congregations, church workers, parents, and church members to prioritize:
- identifying gifts and skills in youth that can be used in service, leadership and vocation inside and outside the church.
- investing in ways for youth to make meaningful contributions.
- providing adults who mentor youth into load-bearing leadership.
- giving youth service and leadership experience with peers, parents, and supportive adults in ministry distinctly created by teens for teens.
- Opportunities to Serve and Lead (Pre-Teens/Jr. High)
- Human Care Ministries
- Volunteer Management
- Local Missions
- Mission Trips
- Youth Ministry