6 Fun Ways to Get Youth Actively Involved in the Church Body

Contributing Writer
6 Fun Ways to Get Youth Actively Involved in the Church Body

I am the mom of two teenagers who are active in a youth group at our church. The group’s activities involve fun trips, planning an annual youth Sunday service, serving meals at our church, and visiting local nursing homes. All these activities are good, but they are accomplished within the group, not necessarily within the church. 

Youth is the period of life between childhood and maturity. It is not a fixed age, rather it is a time of transition from childhood to adulthood. During this transition time, the church, the body of Christ, has an awesome opportunity to disciple another generation of people who love Jesus and desire to proclaim Him to the world.

This brings us to the question of how can we encourage youth to be more active in the church, beyond the youth group, and why is important to the church that we do so? 

A Brief History of Youth Ministry

I think we can all agree that youth ministry is vital to the health of a church. But let’s take a moment and discover how youth ministry was born. In the 1940’s Jim Rayburn began a ministry to reach teens at the local high school. The ministry thrived and is what we now know to be Young Life. During the ‘50s and ‘60s, a group called Youth for Christ was holding large rallies across Canada, America, and England. Both movements focused on one thing: to bring youth to the saving grace of Jesus Christ by building relationships with caring adults. 

By the ‘70s and ‘80s, churches were realizing the importance of youth ministry and the need for youth ministers. Across the world, youth groups were gathering for large meals, concerts, and light shows. It was all about the entertainment factor. 

Today, churches are seeing youth who no longer care for the light shows and loud music. That kind of Christianity seems like nothing more than the world they live in. They are looking for something deeper. What we are learning is that we don’t have to make Christ cool. In all the hype and drive to entertain, the church had segregated youth from the rest of the church. There was little to no engagement with the “adult” section. 

What Is the Church’s Responsibility to the Youth?

In Acts 2:42, Peter is preaching to the new believers after the events of Pentecost. He says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.” We could consider this to be the purpose statement of the church. The 3,000 had become strong and were growing because of their obedience to this Scripture

Youth groups are important to the life of a church. But it is more important for the church to understand that it takes more than a youth group to raise up disciples who will go to the ends of the earth. Youth need to hear the wisdom of the previous generations and be given opportunities to serve alongside them. 

The church is the body of Christ, and as the body we are to be acting in a Christ-like manner. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are to do all the things Christ would do if he were on earth today. 

In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Paul gives us a vivid illustration of what the church should be. The church is one body with many parts, and one of those parts is the youth. Just as the church seeks to develop disciples, encourage believers, build faith, and mold leaders from the adults, the same action is necessary for the youth. 

1 Timothy 4:12 states “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” The church should never seek to segregate its congregation based on age, rather it should aid youth to become the example for Jesus in their world of sports, school, social media, and their circle of friends. 

Ultimately, the church raises up warriors for Christ. Ephesians 4:14-15 says we are to no longer be like little children and grow in every way into him who is the head – Christ. It is the church’s responsibility to help our youth grow in God so we may send out warriors in the form of missionaries, local advocates, evangelists, preachers, Sunday School teachers, and committed church members who can stand in the gap for one another. 

6 Ways to Involve Youth in the Church

Communication is key to involving youth in the life of the church. Oftentimes they don’t serve beyond the youth group because they don’t know they can. 

1. Social Media

Youth are avid social media users, and most churches today have social media accounts. Choose a day each month or week and let the youth take over your social media accounts. They could post Bible verses, testimonies, or spruce up your announcements using filters and backgrounds. 

2. Plan Worship Services

My church has a youth Sunday once a year. This service is completely planned by the youth. But what about taking this a step further and letting the youth aid in the planning of more worship experiences – maybe one service a month – or a special youth worship service at a unique time? They could help choose the music, serve as the ushers, and share announcements. 

3. Plan Evangelism Events

Evangelism is the act of sharing the message and teachings of Jesus. When your church is planning a block party, fall festival, trunk-or-treat, or any outreach event, spend time talking to the youth of your church. They have ideas and opinions which can make your event more successful in reaching people in your community. 

4. Serve in the Church

Youth are capable of doing more than playing fun games and decorating tables. They could help in the nursery or run the sound system. Youth can be greeters at the front door and act as ushers during the worship service. Older youth could serve on committees and participate in Bible studies beyond the Sunday and Wednesday youth meetings. They could cook and serve meals to promote fellowship in the church. 

5. Performing During Church Services

If your church has children and youth who are musically inclined, let God use them. Include a special music performance during a service or plan a special service that highlights the God-given gifts of your youth. 

6. Design Church Media Materials

Your church could let the youth design t-shirts or a logo for your church. Many of the young people today have a better understanding of technology and effective media use than adults. They could design and create your church bulletin a few times a month.

Why Should the Church Get Youth Involved?

The church can only grow from the involvement of youth. Through the involvement of youth, the church will see youth grow into leaders. The church will witness youth building a deeper relationship with God and have a strong sense of belonging. They will be actively preparing for future ministry roles when they have more opportunities to use their God-given gifts and talents. 

The decline of church attendance today happens, in part, because we have chosen to believe the myth that the youth are our future. They are not. They are our present and as the church we have a responsibility to them. We cannot put them in a youth group and act as if they will gain all the knowledge they need to become mature Christians from that group alone. What better place to learn how to be mature Christians than from serving and growing alongside mature Christians?

Youth ministry began as a way to minister to youth by building relationships with caring adults. Church, we are the adults. Let’s build that relationship. Let’s listen to what they have to say. Let’s encourage our youth. Let’s help them understand they have a purpose. What they do right now is important. 

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/FatCamera

Ashley Hooker headshotAshley Hooker is a freelance writer passionate about missions. She has collaborated with mission teams in North Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, West Virginia, and Vermont. Presently, she lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children, where she fulfills roles as a pastor's wife, a dance mom, and a farm girl.