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The purpose of youth ministry is to foster the personal development of faith, theology and relationships for young people ages 6th-12th grades. This usually happens through a variety of lessons, games, resources and relationships. But how do you know if your youth group is hitting the mark?

The Center for Congregations has worked with more than 60 congregations to create vibrant youth ministries. Here’s what we discovered about the most successful congregations.

Effective Youth Ministries
• Devote financial and human resources as a priority to nurture young people.
• Equip youth to use their faith as a lens for making life plans and decision-making.
• Incorporate young people into congregational leadership and the planning process.

These larger goals will likely take time and decisions from your leadership. Below are small ways to strengthen your youth ministry.

Small Changes, Big Impact
You can make subtle changes to integrate youth into the fabric of your congregation. Recruit adult volunteers to connect with the youth and build intergenerational relationships. Allow the youth to step into meaningful and appropriate roles of responsibility. That could be mowing the lawn, assisting in worship or serving in the nursery. Small changes over time will help youth ministry become a natural part of your culture.

Looking for more youth ministry ideas? Take a look at Mark DeVries’ book Sustainable Youth Ministry or Kara Powell’s Sticky Faith.


Kara Faris by Kara Faris

Kara Faris is the Center’s director of resource grants and resource consulting, as well as a resource consultant to congregations. She previously served for eight years as the Center’s education director and led the Center’s Youth Ministry Grants Initiative.

kfaris@centerforcongregations.org