Treat parents well. Be determined to connect with the parents of every kid in your youth ministry. Keep them informed and pursue personal relationships with them, making time to talk about what you see God doing in their kids’ lives. Equip them to deepen their kids’ pursuit of Jesus by considering how they might join in youth ministry activities, lead some activities, and enrich their kids’ spiritual growth at home. Serve the parents in whatever ways you can, such as by making positive comments about their kids, offering classes to help them help their kids grow spiritually, and mentoring them.

Communicate wisely. Go beyond principle-based teaching to incorporate story-based teaching into your youth ministry. Use your own stories and other people’s stories to reveal who God is, and what life is like in His kingdom. Inject small group discussions into your message time. Engage kids with experiential learning activities before, during, or after your message. Use games, drama, or object lessons to spark discussions. Give your small groups spiritual topics to explore on their own and let them potentially discover more about that topic than you have.

Help kids develop a countercultural mindset about their lives. Encourage kids to refrain from just falling into the prevailing cultural mindset of “more, fast, easy, and fun” pursuits. Urge them to connect everything in their lives to Jesus instead.

Adapted from Jesus-Centered Youth Ministry, copyright 2007 by Rick Lawrence. Published by Group Publishing, Loveland, Co.,
Rick Lawrence is executive editor of Group magazine.