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Five Roles of the Church Youth Leader

This post is adapted from Connected for Life: Essential Guide to Youth Ministry and was written by A. J. Mastic.

Maybe serving in youth ministry is a new journey for you. Perhaps you trained for this—or maybe you’re a new volunteer and you’re wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into! No matter how you got to this point, what’s important is that as you take your first steps in youth ministry, you do so with an awareness of not only your skills, but your roles. Am I a teacher? chaperone? dodgeball referee? friend? mentor? A good understanding of your roles will help define your work and the nature of your relationships with the youth.

Teaching Parables: The Laborers in the Vineyard

The parable of the laborers in the vineyard may at first seem obscure. There are multiple layers; but this fact makes the parable all the more useful for teaching in the Sunday School classroom and beyond. As you prepare to present this parable in the classroom, keep in mind that Jesus is on His way to the cross. He wants His hearers to understand that salvation and the Church—that is, the Body of all Christians in heaven and earth—is founded on the forgiveness of sins, which He will provide at Calvary. What’s more, Jesus engages the rich young man in Matthew 19 who asks, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (v. 16).

The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:13–16)

Summer Ministry Ideas for Children, Youth, and Families

My family moved last fall, and we’re still adjusting to new routines in our new city and state. One of the major differences between our old and new hometowns is the school schedule. There, kids are in school through the middle of June. Here, school’s out for the summer by mid-May! The end of the school year has snuck up on me, and I’m scrambling to plan some intentional summer fun for my three young boys to fill the days with more than just screen time and naps. I’m taking the opportunity to freshen up our play space, toss out the broken toys, rotate the books, and make things more age appropriate. Good-bye soft infant toys (sob!), hello wooden blocks, LEGOs, and train tracks. Seasonal books are being packed away, and I’m digging out the kids’ crafts and nature activities. Everything feels refreshed, and I feel ready to tackle a new season in our new home.

Summer Sunday School Evangelism Opportunities

As the summer gears up, my mind is drifting toward how I can make the most of the opportunities I will have to interact with children and their parents this summer! My calendar likely looks very similar to yours—Sunday School will look different in some ways from the normal school year programming, and we will have VBS starting in a few weeks. Many families are heading out on vacations here and there, and in years past I have done less at church in a sort of one-way “non-compete clause.” Last fall, I heard from many families that they missed chances to be with other families outside of Sunday worship, and I got to thinking that perhaps summer is a unique time in a family’s year where outreach and evangelism can happen in fun, different ways than could be done in other seasons.

An Invitation to a Lifetime with Christ

When I was growing up, my family did not attend church regularly, so going to church events was never “automatic.” For me, going to a church event—summer picnics, wintertime sledding, VBS—meant getting an invitation. I didn't know it then, but those invitations were more than just invitations to have some fun; they were invitations to learn about Jesus and other important Bible stories. They were my look into the church. Events like these are perfect opportunities for you to encourage your youth to invite others because those invitations could very well be life-changing for someone (like me).

Teaching Parables: The Wedding Garment

While Jesus’ parable of the wedding garment is relatively brief, it presents two fundamental teachings of the Christian faith: God’s definitions of “good” and “bad” are vastly different from our own, and there is salvation only by grace through faith in Christ. I’ll include a few thoughts on Law and Gospel, some ideas for presenting this parable, and couple of song suggestions.

Find and Keep the Right Volunteers for VBS

As spring begins to thaw much of our great nation, church leaders and volunteers everywhere are turning their attention to the most wonderful time of the year: VBS! Vacation Bible School is a hugely energetic, impactful, and FUN week when our churches shine brightly with the Gospel directly and on purpose to kids and their parents. Is this week the same as our weekly ministry? Yes, but on a giant scale. In order to reach intentionally into the communities in which we find ourselves, we need partners who will help with this wonderful week.

Ending the School Year Well

With the end of the school year close at hand, many of our congregations’ Christian education programs are also winding down and getting ready for a summer break. What can you do to make sure things end well for students and volunteers? 

4 Things Your Youth Ministry Needs to Have

How can we teach teenagers to turn to God for help? The first step in doing so is recognizing what teenagers are seeking so we can show them how God meets their needs. All people, including teenagers, need forgiveness, acceptance, community, and endurance. We can use the acronym F.A.C.E. to remember these four things. Let’s take a look at the F.A.C.E. of Jesus and see how these gifts He brings through the Lord’s Supper apply to youth ministry today.

Free Easter Children’s Message: The Empty Egg

This Easter, celebrate the best event in our history—the empty tomb! Perhaps your congregation does a special event for your children and the kids in your community. As part of that event, consider tying in a special children’s message that will bring Easter into sharp focus for those in your congregation.