Keys to a Successful Youth Ministry

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What are ways to make your youth ministry successful? Brian Summerall is going to explain some key components to make sure our programs are successfully reaching students for Christ.  Brian has been on staff of Young Life for over 25 years and is Director of Ministry Strategy. He travels the country training staff and volunteers to reach more students in existing ministries.

Before we hear from Brian, take a look at this funny video. To battle low enthusiasm and dwindling attendance, one clever youth pastor decides to hire a mascot. After all, what brings more excitement than a mascot?

We do all sorts of things to engage students! What makes some things work and not others? In this video, Brian talks about the trap of doing things just because "we've always done it that way" and he'll give some good strategies to follow to bring your students closer to Christ.

What programs or elements of your youth ministry are working? Why? How do you determine their success? How are theses elements engaging students in "ownership"?
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What programs or elements of your youth ministry are not working? Why? What is missing?
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Brian's story about the t-shirt illustrated one important conclusion: It's their shirt. Each stage of the effort provided:
  • Ownership
  • Vision
  • Contact Work

Now look back at both lists and write how each provide Ownership, Vision and Contact Work.
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Remember, if it doesn't provide interaction and engagement with each other and the gospel, it's just a silly gimmick. Don't do it!

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Another strategy in a successful youth ministry is to consider is the impact your life has on each student. Brian talks about ways to make yourself available. 

Brian explained how the 6 hours practicing a skit could have more impact in students' lives than the skit itself. How are you/can you combine preparation and discipleship so you can model a godly life for your students?
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Read Phil. 3:17–19. Paul was saying, “If you want to be like Jesus, just keep following me.” When your students follow you, are they getting to Jesus? Are you worth following? Are you willing to share areas that need improvement? What does that look like?
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Discipleship naturally happens as you "do life" together. Be open, honest and transparent and make each element impact your students before the meeting even starts. 

For more RightNow Media training posts, and teaching videos with Brian Summerall, click here

For more information about Young Life, go to