Again, more questions I answered for a church in Waco, TX. Thoughts welcomed.
Fundraising Events due to lack of money
There were some good ideas mentioned here, but a word to the wise: pick one fundraiser and stick with it. Too many fundraisers over the year can burn out your kids and your congregation. Pick one and do it hard, and do it strong and well. Auctioning off the students to do a task for a member or something works well; it teaches them to serve, and raises the needed money. There are also several books written about doing youth ministry on a small to nonexistent budget. It can be done. It doesn’t hurt to ask the kids to help pay for stuff too; bring $2 for pizza on youth night, etc.
Also, look into partnering with other area churches in doing activities to offset costs. This can be a great tool to encourage unity in the community. Talking to other youth ministers and sharing ideas can be a valuable resource.
Teen Drugs/Alcohol/Sex/Immoral Behaviors
This is a big one. All youth ministries struggle with this, and for parents, this is their reason for sending their kid to a church youth group. They expect the kids to be fixed and good by the time they leave. This is an unreasonable expectation. Why? Because first, it is not the responsibility of the church to ‘fix’ students, nor to make them ‘good people’. It is to make them followers of Christ, which is often a dangerous undertaking.
However. The church can guide and train youth in the way they should go. And this DOES mean that in youth ministry, we can address the above topics. I will include with this the lesson series I did (complete with verses, questions, etc.) on these topics.
The danger with these issues, is that our society today will focus on ‘whats right for me’ or, ‘the bible isn’t against it, so it must be for it/ or it doesn’t matter’. (Just because the Bible doesn’t talk about it doesn’t mean it’s okay to do it!)
Our students have also become desensitized to these things, because they see them everyday. The idea with these things is to teach our kids about the LONG TERM effects/consequences of their actions. Teaching them this principle: The Best Question Ever. What is the wise thing for me to do, in light of my past experiences, current circumstances, and future hopes and dreams? Getting them to see the long term, the road ahead, the future, and encouraging them to THINK before they act. Now, along with asking that question, you will get types of people that were: totally naïve. “We had no idea!” That: knew, but really don’t care. “We understand the risks, but I’m going to keep doing this.” That: scoff and ridicule. “You want me to think about what? Pshaw. As if.” Helping our students understand that we care about their future, and are invested in seeing them attain it with Christ goes a long way in partnering with them.
Growing youth group to size needing youth ministry leader
When it is time, God will let you know.