A Youth Ministry Community Essential is…Community!

We marvel as we look around the room and see no one connecting with each other.  Kids are cloistered.  Adults are standing in the back of the room – probably with their arms crossed and not saying much of anything.  And we wonder….why do we not have community here?!  Where is the fellowship?!

Cue the countdown video.  We do a genuine, heartfelt welcome (from the stage).  The band leads in worship (from the stage).  You speak a compelling message (from the stage).  And fade to black….

Youth Ministry Community

True community does not happen without intentional programming.

If everything that happens in your hour-ish with students happens ‘from the front of the room’, it’s no wonder there is no community.  Community happens when people actually interact with each other.

“But we have hang-out time 30 minutes before everything starts – they still don’t connect with each other!”

OK, I’ll re-phrase.  Community happens when people actually interact with each other PURPOSEFULLY.

When I speak (even in big church) I gather folks together in groups for discussion.  I’ll mix up the way our space is set, sometimes doing worship from the back or the center of our space.  Our adults are trained that hang-out time is a time for sitting in a chair looking eye-to-eye with at least three students.  All of our community tables have discussion starters on them – every time we meet – no matter what the meeting is.  We fly slides that encourage students to meet one another and ask questions.

Community happens in conversation – if we aren’t providing meaningful opportunities for that to happen, it doesn’t happen.

How are you creating purposeful time to allow community to happen? What success have you had in helping students to belong in meaningful ways? 


  • http://twitter.com/ScottTinman ScottTinman

    Love it…Intentional Community! Not just hoping it happens but being purposeful in helping one another connect!