Shallow, unintentional youth community is hard to change but easy to identify. It’s a cultural shift that may take time depending on the pre-existing culture at your church. On good way to identify the effectiveness of your youth program in building youth community is to ask the parents. Just ask the parents if they’ve heard any of these lines,
“Do I have to go to Youth Group tonight?”
“They do the same thing every night.”
“I don’t want to go, I don’t really fit in.”
These are signs that the youth community isn’t as inclusive or developed as we my have thought. As Youth leader it’s our job to help each youth feel welcomed through meaningful experiences and inclusiveness.
Adding substance and meaning
One surefire way to add substance and meaning to your Youth Ministry is to create shared experiences outside of Youth Group. It also helps bring the group together. Two people who may not think they have anything in common all-of-a-sudden have a really great one that they can talk about.
Doing life together week after week can get monotonous. Sometimes it’s good to mix things up. I asked Youth Pastors what they do outside of Youth Group to Build Authentic Community, and here is what they said:
- Support your youth by getting together to go to someone’s soccer game, or recital. Showing support is a great way to reflect and build a caring community.
- Plan a once-a-month fun night – Bowling, Broom Ball, Barbecue, Camp fire at the beach, pool parties, corn maze, etc.
- Community Service – Many schools require students to have community service hours. Find a need in your community and meet it. Examples include park clean up days, feeding the poor, visiting the elderly, sponsoring a child, or tutoring students in local elementary school. Making this fun for your group can go a long way!
- Camps and Retreats – For students that feel isolated or misunderstood, camp can offer the connectivity and support needed to finally feel like they are a part of a community. Everyone needs a change of pace + a change of place = change in perspective. There is no better way to develop life together and shared experiences than getting students away at camp.
Spend time at camp together
As camp professionals at Mission Springs we are believers in the power of camp because we have seen the life-changing impact that Jesus can have on a student. Camp changes you not only for a session or season, but long after the camp experience ends.
Being intentional about developing shared experiences is a powerful way to build authentic community in your youth ministry.
If you’re interested in planning a youth group retreat we currently have a SPECIAL YOUTH RETREAT DISCOUNT going on during the months of December & January.
Check out our Youth Retreat Planning Guide to get started today
OR give us a call at 831-335-9133 ext. 16.