(From my new friend, Chad Inman. I saw where he tweeted that he would be the small church youth ministry voice for MORF Online Magazine. I contacted him, we chatted and I invited him to do a three part series for my blog. Here’s the plan: Below is the prequel for what’s coming next. We’re putting together three Advent lessons for you to use. Each one will be set up in a consistent format. Reasons why are below. Then we’re creating a social media spot where we can all share what happenedwhen we used the lesson. Cool community idea, huh? This is fun!)
While it’s true that creativity is an important part of student ministry, so is predictability. Young people crave consistency and an effective youth ministry will provide it. This is especially vital when it comes to the discipline policies and basic structure of a youth meeting. Here are 10 “predictability check” ideas on what I mean:
1) Make sure all parties involved know the process for misbehavior and make sure that all leaders follow it to the rule. This will minimize distractions and you might find that it brings out the best in your students.
2) Create a basic outline for youth meetings and follow it every week. I would suggest opening with some fellowship time and a fun activity/game.
3) If you have snacks at your youth group, build in specific times for munching and limit students to this time.
4) As you move into the content, have a specific flow that you stick to. I suggest opening with the scripture. Here’s a hint, use the scripture that your pastor is preaching on. You can choose to prep (the lesson before) or reinforce (the lesson after) the sermon with your youth meeting.
5) Next, reinforce the sermon with some sort of media. You can find clips for every situation on Youtube or Vimeo (even if it is from a cheesy bible movie).
6) If you have a second text, sandwich the media piece with the two readings.
7) Now create four or five open-ended discussion questions for the group to explore. Yes/no answers should be treated as if they are the black plague. Don’t try to steer things too much; you will be able to take things in the right direction with a wrap up (5 minutes or less) at the end of the night.
8) You may pray at other times during the night but always close the night with prayer.
9) Give students a few minutes to share praises and requests.
10) Challenge students to pray but don’t push them to hard.