Often, meetings consist of games, team-building activities, and lessons through the stories of the Bible. Depending upon the skills and interests of your volunteers, other undertakings can range from nursery schools to after school playground activities to white water rafting and beyond! Youth ministry and engagement is a wonderful way to spread Christ's love throughout your community. Below, we'll outline some of the original ways in which you might grow your congregation through youthful activities.
Outreach and Service
Service activities can be a great way to engage younger members of your church and the surrounding communities. Adopt-A-Highway programs are wonderful for getting a little exercise on a Saturday morning while helping to clean up your neighborhood or town. In the late fall, try a blanket drive -- have your youngsters hand out the donated blankets to the local homeless population, who will greatly appreciate their kindness. This is a good form of practical ministry, and can be excellent publicity for your organization, as well. The same sort of thing can be done with cold soda on a hot summer day.
Are the younger members of your community interested in music? What about opening a room of the church for Saturday afternoon band practices? You can make your sound equipment available to local youth, both Christian and non-Christian - though, of course, you'll want to make sure that the musical content is appropriate for your church or meeting hall.
There are many different types of retreats which can help to foster brotherhood and give youngsters the opportunity to explore their relationship with the Lord through hard work and natural settings. Rock-climbing, skiing, and rafting trips are excellent ways to find Christ's love in the beauty of nature, and are excellent for building relationships between your younger church members. Some churches organize trips to campgrounds or lakes -- a fun variation on this type of excursion is to go to a camp in need of repair work, and have your kids spend a week fixing it up.
Another idea is to form a caravan or find an RV and travel to a distant landmark or fun location, such as a Christian music festival, stopping to pray along the way. This sort of thing can also be done with bicycles, with stops to sleep each night at affiliated churches along the route. Generally speaking, time away from their families and schools will give your youngsters a time to learn about themselves in a new situation, and allow them to form tighter bonds with the other young members of your congregation.
More Fun Ideas
Have your youth group adopt another youth group in a sister city -- people their own age with whom they can correspond through letters and videos, if you've got a youngster who's tech-savvy.
Encourage the idea of a Friday night get together once a month, possibly at the house of your youth pastor. Provide food and games. Your youth will enjoy the opportunity to meet outside of church, and will continue to form bonds with one another through play and making good memories.
Sponsor a "Kindness Day" each year for your youth group. Encourage your youngsters to come up with ideas for how they can show Christ's undiscriminating kindness and compassion to people who need a little sunshine in their lives. Suggested ideas include visiting nursing homes, homeless shelters, and the children's wing of your local hospital.
However you choose to encourage a greater sense of community and togetherness in your youth, be sure to remind them that Christ's love is always with them. Holding your group's meetings in this spirit will help your youngsters to become better citizens, church members, and human beings as they grow up.