Examining Your Youth Group Culture

When you are winding down one school year with your students and looking toward the summer and a new school year in the fast-approaching future, it’s a good time to take stock of what your youth group culture looks like and how it might be more centered on the gospel. Here are five articles that will help you evaluate: How do we create a culture of participation, passion, and engagement in the broader church in our youth groups?

Youth Group Culture: Fully Known by Brad Gray

“The youth often come to the group putting on their “Sunday best,” thinking that if they can appear put together and answer a few questions, then maybe they won’t be called out and everyone will stay off their case. Teenagers can be phenomenal play-actors when it comes to their Christianity (as can we adults). But these acts won’t last long under the sound preaching of the truth of the gospel, because the gospel means you’ve been found out!”

Youth Group Culture: Convictional Leadership by Taylor Mendoza

“A convictional leader takes the doctrine of the church and realizes that all believers are tied together from the inside out in gospel-partnership because of our common salvation. He knows the power and weight of the Divine Creator going out of his way to make himself known throughout Scripture. He talks about the Creator of the universe; the Creator who breathes out stars and life, and places planets in their exact locations and spins them with his almighty finger. Finally, the Christians of our youth groups, old and young, are members of the messianic community; they are Jesus’ people. This leader knows that the church is not his fan club, but Jesus’ citizens and humble servants.”

Youth Group Culture: Avoiding Creating a Church within a Church by Kris Fernhout

“A student ministry’s identity must reflect the identity of the individual local church that it ministers within. A student ministry’s mission should be the same as the local congregation that the youth ministry serves (or a contextualized version for teens). The identity and methodology of a student ministry in an individual congregation should encourage participation in that congregation and participation in the wider body of the church. And, it should teach students that their participation in the wider local church is not just for their spiritual benefit.”

Youth Group Culture: Creating Passion by John Pond

“Everyone knows and has felt the frustration of perceiving that your flock just does not share your passion regarding the kingdom of Jesus Christ. In church and student ministry, when I notice a lack of passion for Christ in my students and/or leaders, I begin to beat myself up for it. I often run straight to self-condemnation and believe that I am not doing a good job for our students, resulting in their lack of passion and enthusiasm for God. The problem is me.”

Youth Group Culture: Bigger Than Ourselves by Sean McDonald

“I believe now that the way I operated is actually a contributing factor to why so many college-age students never integrate into larger church life.  While operating in Growth mode, I never considered how being a part of a huge youth ministry without ever participating in the rest of church life could adversely impact a student.  To me, it was all about attending what I had planned.  Whatever else was going on in the church was really not my concern, unless of course there was a calendar conflict… [When] my heart was combined with Growth thinking, it created a monster—a monster that could have potentially caused incredible division in our church and disillusionment in the hearts and minds of my students.”

Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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