Luke 9:1-2,10-11, 28
In this passage of Scripture there are three different groups of people. You have a group of outer followers, the 5,000 men (vs. 10-11,14). Secondly, you have the followers of Christ who were faithful at all times. These are the 12 disciples we know by name (vs. 1-2). Thirdly, you have the inner followers. These are the three disciples closest to Christ: Peter, James, and John (vs. 28). In youth ministry, these three categories also exist. You have an outer group, a outer core, and an inner core. Your outer group consists of those you have limited access to, and/or you have limited influence over. This could be a teen who comes once a month (limited access), or the teen who comes regularly but doesn’t desire to be a part of the youth ministry (limited influence). Example: Jay attends Sunday School once a month, does not attend Sunday evening Service, nor Wednesday evening service. He attends maybe 10% of the activities a year, and does not express a high interest during the service, congregational singing, etc. Perhaps some of this is out of his control such as church attendance, but for the most part these are positions he chooses to take, thus he is in the outer core. Your outer core consists of the teens you have solid access to, and you have solid influence over. These are the teens who are faithful, work in ministries, bring a supportive spirit, etc. These avenues provide you a great deal of access to them. These teens also have a spirit of involvement and engagement, which provides you the ability to influence them. Example: Sally is faithful to 90% of the services, attends most if not all teen activities, and works a bus route. This allows the YP and YP wife to have access to Sally on a very consistent basis. This also gives me a better chance of gauging Sally’s spiritual pulse, momentum, and trends. Her spirit plays a big role on whether or not she’s a “core” member. Your inner core are those within your core who give you the most access and the most room to influence them. These are those you can always rely on to be supportive, they lead by example, and they desire to be close to spiritual leaders. Example: Josh sings in special music, is faithful to all services and activities, and gravitates towards his spiritual leaders, etc. This is the type of teen that I can pull in close to gain the most room to influence. He wants to hear what I think as his YP, he desires to have a good relationship with his spiritual leaders, and thus creates room for those individuals to influence him.
How To Build Your Core
Determine your outer group, outer core, and inner core. Note: they determine what category they’re in, not me! (This is NOT something you reveal to teens, this is prayerfully between you and the Lord) Understand that to begin with, your outer teens may outnumber your outer core and inner core. (See text) Spend most of your energy building your core (inner and outer), not your outer group. Even if the numbers are lopsided, put your emphasis on what feeds the morale of your core. Place positive energy into your core, and this will create positive pressure for the outer group to want to be a part of your core, (ie: teen s/w, teen choir, using the altar, etc.) Understand teens can backslide out of your core, or trend upwards into your core. Therefore, never give up on anyone, but also never assume certain teens will always be spiritual.
Bro Danny Ortiz | Youth Pastor
Frederick Baptist Church | Frederick, MD