Elements of a Healthy and Sustainable Youth Ministry: 6. Systems

6.    Systems

An effective youth ministry will have systems and documentation in place that make for helpful processes and practices, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and that any handover in leadership is as seamless as possible. This includes:

  • An intentional long and short term approach to programming that includes calendars and curriculum. Those of us with children would be horrified if our schools told us that they were unsure what they will teach our children from year to year, or even week to week. yet that’s how some youth ministries operate! Planning a long term curriculum doesn’t mean nailing down every week’s programme years in advance. It does mean having a sense of where we are heading and what we are covering, with flexibility to add in extra programmes or incorporate new resources as they are released.
  • Programme documentation with clearly defined purposes that include expectations and tasks for leaders. It’s easy to fall into the trap of running programmes without any clear sense of purpose, or recruiting leaders who have little real sense of what you want them to do and what constitutes success. Yet when we work through these issues and document them clearly we maximise the effectiveness of what we do and who we ask to do it.
  • An accurate database of contact information for all the young people associated with the youth ministry, and their parents, exists and is used.  Such a database is not about counting numbers. It’s about realising that every young person is important, and we need to make sure we communicate with them and their parents/guardians effectively and regularly.
  • Good lines of communication and accountability exist between the youth ministry and the wider church. These include ways to inform both the church and the church leadership what is happening within the youth ministry. It will include regular reports, newsletter items, updates, etc.


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