6 Tips on Engaging Youth in Service


My friend, Kevin Mahaffy, shared 6 tips on how to get teenagers involved in their communities and I thought these were very helpful.  I will share 4 of them with you here on the blog, and you can get the link to the full post at the end.

        • Make it fun. If serving is a drag, students will not want to do it. It can be hard and challenging, but it’s never dull. Find ways to make service fun. Build fun competition, crack jokes when things aren’t going as planned, give them fun incentives, etc. Give students shirts when they register. Host a swim party after a long day of serving. Take students out for a Slurpee or a burger on the way home. Be creative and show them that serving, especially together with their friends, can be fun.
        • Make it short. The best way to introduce healthy elements into your ministry is by starting small. For “Love Long Island,” I knew that if I asked students to sacrifice their whole spring break, our participation would have been minimal. By making it a two-day commitment on the front-end of the week, they still had five days to sleep in, play video games, or whatever they wanted. Our service days were only 9am-3pm so they still had their evenings on those two days.
        • Make it affordable. Service projects are built into my student ministry budget. I purchase needed supplies, etc. using those funds. For “Love Long Island,” I just charged students $25. For the two days that covered their t-shirt, bag lunches, chaperones, and transportation. Even if you don’t have a budget, you can keep the cost low. Again, be creative. Have students bring personal work gear, tools, and even their lunch.
        • Make it regular. Through the years I have always looked for ways to make service a constant on our calendar. In addition to our annual events and mission trips, we also designate monthly or bi-monthly “Serve Nights” for our small groups. On those nights, rather than having regular small group meetings, they plan and implement service projects as groups. Through the years they have made care packages for kids with cancer, wrote Valentine’s cards for veterans, visited nursing homes, cleaned the church, delivered goodie bags to local business owners, and picked up trash around town.

Go here to read the full post.


[Podcast] ★ The Disconnect: Part Two with Doug Franklin ★

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 7.15.53 PM The 23rd episode of This Week in Youth Ministry podcast is LIVE. We’ll be bringing these to you every Thursday.

from the description: This Week in Youth Ministry – Episode 23 ★ The Disconnect: Part Two with Doug Franklin ★ What if you were to survey 100 youth workers about their Senior Pastors and then do the same thing with Senior Pastors … surveying them about their youth workers? What would their responses be? Terrace Crawford interviews Doug Franklin about “The Disconnect: Bridging the Gap between Youth Pastors and Senior Pastors” in this episode.

Thanks for listening!  And please share the word with friends online about the new podcast.  You can also check out www.thisweekinym.com – our official podcast page.

Subscribe in iTunes by clicking [here].

Want to Create a Leadership Experience for Students?

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I’m an advocate for student leadership in youth ministry.

I think it’s vital for our students to take ownership of the youth ministry, and I believe it’s important that youth workers work to equip teenagers for leadership.

With that said, I’m currently working with my friends at LeaderTreks to create a summer opportunity for students in our ministry who want to lead or grow in their Leadership.

We’re going to call this summer laboratory experience  “Leadership U”.

Here are a few details of the structure I’ve put together:

  • The program will last 8 weeks (could last 10) during the summer.
  • The costs will be $50 to apply (covers application fee, materials, etc).
  • There will be 6 (could be up to 8) training sessions for participants with coaching from yours truly.
  • Participants will engage in several team initiatives during the program.
  • Each teen will be registered to attend the Student Leadership Conference with Doug Fields.
  • Students will have at least one opportunity to lead a project during the summer.
  • We will walk through LeaderTreks’ Start Here book together.
  • The participants will receive a certificate at the end of the summer program recognizing their achievement.

I’d love to see other youth workers execute something like this in their youth groups over
the summer, so feel free to rip this off.  If I can help advise you in making this happen for your youth group, feel free to contact me.

And don’t miss the next This Week in Youth Ministry Podcast (airing tomorrow, Thursday, April 9, 2015) featuring my friend and guest Doug Franklin, president of LeaderTreks! Doug and I will be talking about how YOU can build a Student Leadership Team from scratch!  So fun!


Are You Ready for A Retreat?

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In a recent episode of This Week in Youth Ministry podcast, I talked about how youth workers might be interested in taking a retreat this year. My friends at LeaderTreks have such quality stuff — and this is no different.  They’ve put together several Refuel Retreats this year for youth workers and I shared about it on the podcast.

Refuel Retreats offer everything you’d probably experience from a conference (training, networking opportunities, relaxation) but they are hosted in an intimate setting at a much more affordable price.  How awesome!  I’m encouraging youth workers to make room in their calendars this year for a retreat like this.  We’ve got too many people burning out… and it can be avoided. Perhaps planning some time away is the first step to getting you back on track?  Contact LeaderTreks today and tell them I sent you.

Oh, and be sure to check out LeaderTreks Blog and store [here]. They offer TONS of resources to help you grow your students too.  I love (and highly recommend!) their stuff!