Luke McFadden asks for some input about what to do with the youth group on his very first night as a youth pastor.
I’m starting at my first ministry position this coming week. What should I do for the first night? I know it is important to build relationships early on in ministry, but I don’t want to neglect the Word either.
I highly recommend that you don’t come in and start an in-depth Bible series on the first night. Although I totally understand what you’re saying, that first night no one is thinking, “I wonder how well this guy can teach the Bible?” Instead, everyone is thinking, “Who is this guy and why should I listen to him?” So, take the evening just to introduce yourself. Share about your teenage years, your family, how you came to know Christ, what God has been teaching you lately, your hobbies, interests, etc. Also come prepared to ask them questions, especially if it’s a smaller group. Give every individual student special attention as they go around the room and share a little bit about themselves. While they share, show interest by asking a follow-up question to something they say to learn more details. For example, if they say they like to read, ask what books they’ve recently read. Or, if they’re on a sports team right now, ask them how they’re doing so far this year. Stuff like that. Basically, even if you’re not a super-relational guy, you kinda need to be that first night because that’s when you’re going to set all the first-impressions. Be intentional about what first-impressions you leave. The main one you want kids to sense is that you’re a real person they can relate to who cares about them individually. The old cliche really is true: people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Have a youth ministry question you’d like me and other readers to answer? E-mail it to me! Please keep your question brief and to-the-point. Thanks!
Posted on June 5, 2008