Looking for a fresh approach to youth group that will move your teens from spiritual apathy to engagement?
Give them a mission!
No, not a mission that only Ethan Hunt can accomplish. (Although, no doubt some of your students would love being a tag-along in one of his impossible missions).
I’m talking about a mission for teens to engage their faith in the real world. A mission to exercise all the spiritual truths they are learning at youth group. And a mission to give them a vision to guide their faith for life!
And guess what? You’re currently living this mission out! It’s the mission Jesus calls all believers to: Going into the world and making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).
“The Way” of Youth Ministry Handed Down from Our Youth Ministry Forefathers
In youth ministry, most have adopted a generally accepted “way” of running youth group…
Give students some time to socialize.
Get the energy moving with a game.
Reel them back in with worship songs.
Encourage them with a message.
Send them off and repeat the following week.
This “way” can sometimes seem like the only way to do ministry — either because of our own experiences from growing up in the church or from what we see other youth leaders modeling in their youth group.
The harsh reality is that in many respects, we are boring our teens with “the way” of ministry. Sure, they may be engaged for a time. But because we’ve conditioned them to come to group thinking that it’s all about them and what they can get out of youth group, we’re starting from the wrong premise. No wonder they’re soon spiritually apathetic. This same weekly routine offers teens no exciting or daring places to take their faith and they quickly become spiritually stagnant and self-absorbed.
Teens need an outlet to grow and go deeper in their relationship with Jesus. They need a mission that will put them in the driver’s seat of their faith, hand them the keys and encourage them to drive out on the streets. After all, they are teens who are learning to drive in real life.
Christ’s Great Commission gives meaning and purpose to our faith beyond just accepting it personally. It challenges believers to really own their faith. And it gives your teens the respected honor and privilege to participate in a 2,000-year-old mission of bringing the saving news of the gospel to the lost, hurt and broken of the world.
Now, what could be more exciting than that?!
Where to Begin
But before you jump in and “co-mission” your students to spread the Word the next time you meet, here are a few ideas to set you up for mission-success:
- Spend some time in prayer. Seek wisdom on how to best introduce Christ’s mission to seek and save the lost to your teens. Ask God to prepare your teens’ hearts to receive His command (especially those with spiritual apathy). And ask Him where (in your community or elsewhere) He wants to use your ministry to further His Kingdom.
- Tell your teens about Jesus’ mission. Let them know that this wasn’t just a command Jesus gave to His disciples 2,000 years ago. It’s a command (and a privilege!) for all disciples to take part in as followers of Christ.
- Then, invite your teens to obey Jesus’ mission. When Jesus gave the Great Commission to His disciples, He didn’t just mention it to them, He gave them (and all believers) a command to follow. Challenge and encourage your teens with opportunities to exercise their faith and actually go out on mission together.
- Equip your teens for this mission. Before you go out on mission, train your teens how to share their faith. Show them how to navigate the unpredictable and sometimes terrifying terrain of gospel conversations. (This includes how to bring the gospel up, how to listen to the other person they’re speaking with, how to ask questions and how to give an invitation to salvation.)
And give them opportunities to practice what you teach them with you and their peers at group.
Then, together, go out on mission for THE Cause of Christ!
Mission-Oriented Ideas for Youth Group
Here are some practical, mission-oriented ideas for youth group you can use now:
- Mission & Movie Night
- High School Football and Evangelism
- Fast Food Formal
- The Dinner Scramble
- Tribal Evangelism
- Free “E” Activity (at Costco?)
- A More Intentional Scavenger Hunt
- The Breakfast Club
- Weekly Missions (Summer idea)
- Christmas Party ideas
- A Holiday Evangelism Spark
- How to Use Videos on Social Media to Share the Gospel
- Conversation-starting videos
- 8 Great Summer Outreach Ideas
- How to Use Photos on Social Media to Share the Gospel
- Sharing Jesus Online
The Benefit of Giving Teens a Mission
The best thing about giving your teens a mission for their faith is that it isn’t just a one-time idea for youth group. It’s a continuous way of doing ministry that invites your teens out of spiritual apathy and self-absorption and into a deeper relationship with Christ.
Because at the end of the day, that’s all we in youth ministry really want for our teens. For them to know Jesus, passionately follow Him and share the news of His love and saving grace with others.