My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
Teen church or the youth service of your church is for the teenagers what a regular service is for the adults. This time is very important. Teen church or youth service can be the highlight of your teenagers week if you run it successfully. Here are a few ideas on how to have a successful teen church.
First, to run a successful teen church, you must be organized. Organization is paramount when comes to any activity of the church, but especially to teen events. For if you do not have a program of what is going on then the teenagers will have a program of their own. When planning a program you must think of the song service. When planning the song service always have a written song service/order of service. This is important so that everyone knows what is supposed to happen next and also as a reference point so that there is no dead time in the service. Also keep the general structure of the service the same, but always keep the service changing. Use different songs or different games to keep the service fresh and exciting. The service needs to have a general structure, but needs to be kept exciting and fresh to the teenagers.
For games these need to be safe, exciting and appropriate. Do not have a game with people using saws to saw wood in half or do something else that is dangerous. It is a bad testimony for the church to have that happen and worse could happen if someone gets seriously hurt. On the other hand, the games need to be exciting and fun. There is nothing worse than going to a teen service where the leader and teenagers do not know how to have fun. Church needs to be balanced with good spiritual food and exciting clean fun. The last thing that games should be is appropriate. They should be appropriate between guys and girls not touching or being immodest, but also it should be appropriate to the service. A Friday night activity may allow for a more messy game, when the teenagers may bring an extra change of clothes. On Sunday, the teenagers are dressed for church and will probably will not want to get their nice clothes dirty or messed up. Games can be a great help to teach your teenagers to have fun at church.
Another thing that will help you have a successful teen church is a working relationship between you and the teenagers. Teenagers do not naturally accept authority and follow willingly. Their trust and heart must be earned. A relationship is something that is powerful and make a huge difference in a teenagers life. As Christians we are supposed to have a relationship with Jesus and as youth leader you should have a relationship with your teenagers. Youth Pastors need to engage in conversation. Conversation takes time and effort. Conversation tells teenagers that you are not only concerned with the amount of teenagers in the class, but that you are individually interested in them as a person. As you talk to the teenagers in your youth group, you will develop friendships. These friendships will help you influence that teenagers life. These friendships are developed by time and money. Teenagers do not need extravagant prizes or hours a day, but they do need to know that you are not just working a job and that you love them and desire that they be stronger Christians. Building relationships with your teenagers will be a help to both you and them. When there is a strong relationship, you will be able to understand their problems, weaknesses, and strengths to be able to help them more. They will also benefit because they will open their heart and receive the message more because they know you care.
IV. RULES AND DISCIPLINE
While relationships are important, discipline is also apart of the learning process. Some teenagers are able to do whatever they desire to do at home without rules or restraint. The teenagers must be taught from the Word of God that they must listen and obey. First, determine the rules and punishments. This will help the teenagers know what is expected of them and will also help regulate the class. Then after you have determined the rules you must state the rules and enforce the rules. Let the teenagers know what the rules are and abide by them. If the rules are not followed then you are teaching them that the rules are not important and should not be followed. This is destructive to the church services and to them as people.
V. BE REAL
Probably the biggest question that teenagers have about their Youth Pastor is, “Is he real?” Be real with your teenagers. Teenagers are very good at discerning if you are real or not. They can tell if this only a job to you or if you really enjoy the ministry. They can if you have a burden to see them grow spiritually or if you only filling a time slot. If you do not have a burden for your teenagers, then you need to get to know them and pray for them. Teens everywhere have problems. If you do not feel burden to help those teens that God has entrusted to you then it is time to beg God to break your heart. For you my friend have a cold and back slidden heart. Be Real with your teenagers. Ask your teenagers to be real with you! Tell them to be real with you and you will be real with them.
Teen church or youth service can be a place of fun and excitement, but the service can also be where those young people come to learn the will of God and become stronger Christians. I pray that these things will help you and your teenagers.
Central Baptist Church Avenel, NJ