Educating imaginative, resilient leaders for God's changing world.

Best Practices for Youth Ministry: Don’t Re-invent the Wheel!

by Chris Sarkowski

Youth and their leaders rolling on the river.

Youth ministry is not a shot in the dark, fly by the seat of your pants, make it up as you go, put together on Sunday afternoon kind of ministry. Although improvisational skills are required, intentional visioning, planning, and leadership are crucial to a healthy youth ministry. 

The good news… you don’t to reinvent the wheel. Those wheels are already rolling!

Big Ideas 4 Youth Ministry, hosted by the Center for Lifelong Learning January 22-24, 2014,  is the collaborative effort of five career youth ministry professionals who share more than seventy years of experience working with youth, their parents, and volunteers.  Scott Brown, Michelle Thomas-Bush, Chris Sarkowski, Natalie Raygor, and John Ryan came together for the first time as a part of the 2012 S3(Sabbath, Study and Service Cohort).  Calling themselves GO BIG, they began to explore the joys and challenges of doing youth ministry in a large church setting.  Along with a focus on the importance of Sabbath and play, this group quickly realized that each of them brought a unique set of ideas and best practices to the table.  And they got to work, putting them together in the shape of a workshop for youth leaders.

This event is all about the sharing of great ideas.  There will be a “Spotlight Big Ideas” segment each day where new ideas will be shared by youth ministry veterans and newcomers.  Each participant will walk away with a wonderful new resource -  Big Ideas, a book of twenty five best practices put together by the leadership team.  The practices include important how-tos:  guiding a church through the illness of a youth group member, celebrating milestone like graduations, designing retreats with just the right amount of reflection, and building sustainable mission partners. This book will provide participants with practical tools for a healthy youth ministry in both big and small church settings.

Remember: youth ministry is not about reinventing the wheel.  The Bid Idea Bus is already rolling! Register today and join us for an opportunity to hear ideas from other youth professionals from around the country and be prepared to share your own big ideas!       

Author:  Chris Sarkowski, member of the planning team and youth director at Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian, Mt. Pleasant, SC (and brother of colleague/group member, Natalie Raygor)