It is that time of year again… lists, shopping, wrapping, trying to figure out the perfect gift for every person in your life. For youth ministers, here’s the million-dollar question: What do you get the most dedicated Core Team on the planet on a youth ministry budget? How do you honor those who give up their Sunday nights, their weekends and their evenings so teens can be led closer to Christ? With your limited time (and even more limited budget), you want to make it a meaningful and useful gift, not just something you found in the back of the youth ministry closet, a re-gifted gift card, or leftover retreat T-shirt (don’t laugh, it has been done). What is a youth minister to do?
If you are searching for some ideas, let Life Teen help you out. The Life Teen store is filled with wonderful gifts to fit any Core Team. Discounts are available for bulk purchases as well. Some suggestions include:
- Core Values book – Give your team this inspirational collection of personal stories and reflection on living our Core values. This book can be used as the basis of a 7-week Core Prayer series.
- Catholic Teen Bible – you can’t go wrong with the Word of God!
- 40 More book – 40 days of prayer and reflection based in Scripture, perfect for the Core Member looking to get into a rhythm of prayer. You could even make this an Advent gift!
- Rocking the Cradle Catholic book – Practical ideas and encouragement for the task of raising children in the faith. Perfect for your Core with young children!
- Life Teen Messenger Bag – a practical and thoughtful gift for the Core Members who are always on the go.
- Life Teen embroidered polo shirts – These classy shirts are perfect for the Core Team who already has plenty of youth group T-shirts!
Honoring your Core Team at Christmastime should not just be limited to a gift. Be creative and involve the teens and parents in thanking this vital part of the ministry. Here are some low-cost, high-affirmation ideas for your Core Team:
- Surprise Appreciation Dinner – turn your next meeting into a surprise celebration that is all about fellowship, food and thanksgiving. Ask parents and teens to fix a meal for your Core Team and decorate your meeting space with notes of appreciation. Make this as simple or as elaborate as you want. Consider inviting the spouses or families of our Core Team – they serve through sacrifice and support and need to be appreciated as well.
- Gift Coupons – Give your Core Members a “night off” coupon, a coffee with the YM coupon, etc.
- Hand Written Notes – Write a note to each Core Member honoring their gifts and thanking them for all they do. They will appreciate the time you took plus the words of affirmation. Invite your teens and parents to write notes as well.
- Prayer Service – Work with your priests, liturgists and music director to have a special prayer service at your next Core Team meeting.
Whatever you do, take a moment this Advent and Christmas season to honor and recognize the entire youth ministry team. Whether they serve on Core Team, serve dinner or clean up the youth room each week, let them know how much their time and service is appreciated. It takes all of us to lead teens closer to Christ.