The voice paused on the call, almost hearing her gulp, and then the words “I’ve been at this parish for four years now and it seems stale, I think something needs to change or I must move on.” Ever feel this way? Like youth ministry at your parish is in a rut and you don’t know how to get out of it? You are not alone. More times than not I have found that there are some definite steps you can take to breathe life into a stagnant youth ministry.
- Call It Out: Be a leader and admit to yourself and others that things seem stagnant. Don’t try to fake it. Call it what it is and decide that you are going to make some changes to bring more life into the ministry.
- Think in Terms of Movement: It’s much easier to steer a car that is moving than trying to turn the wheels while sitting still. Plan a Pilgrimage, Mission Trip, Summer Camp, Youth Conference, Retreat, Ski Trip, or anything that will get you, your Core and the teens moving on a journey somewhere. Community is built twice as fast when you and your core team spend away time with teens!
- New People Bring New Energy: Recruit new Core Members, musicians, parent helpers and especially new teens. When new people show up, it is a sign of a ministry living the new Evangelization. Just the thought of new people involved makes us smile!
- What Looks the Same is Probably the Same: Been a while since you changed the environment of a Life Night? Have the walls of your office become just a jog down memory lane or is it a reflection of the current group of teens? Have music playing, hang new banners, update photos and add some new paint to add new life to the spaces you hang out with teens at your parish. We serve in one of the most transformational ministries in our parishes – does the vibe of our space reflect that?
- Add Depth: Spiritual depth never is stale! If you feel like you are in a rut, most likely you are just skimming the surface with your teens and Core. When is the last time you planned a talk or prayer experience that really challenged you and those you serve. Go into the deep and it will totally energize your ministry!
- Add More Fun: Make them laugh! Fun is contagious. Has fun left youth ministry at your parish? Start by being more spontaneous. Spoof something, make up a song, lovingly prank someone, spend an afternoon playing video games with some teens weekly, plan a random fun only event or whatever it takes to get you and ministry fun again. When it becomes fun again, no way it is going to feel stagnant!
So what are the areas you need to work on the most? Remember the best way to keep your ministry from becoming stale, is to be doing most of what I just recommended above on an ongoing basis.