Youth ministry is often a challenge for churches. You may call it Senior High Ministry, Student Ministry, or Youth Group. It’s an important ministry at a formative time in the lives of young adults in grades 9-12.

Many churches work hard to make Christianity “fun.” They provide a long list of entertainment-related activities: lock-ins, bowling nights, camping trips, amusement parks, beach or pool parties, etc.

There’s nothing wrong with these activities. However, it’s hard for the church to compete with the American world of entertainment. Good news: a new generation is rising and their tribe is more open to formation and service.

Focus on these issues:

  1. What can the church uniquely offer high school students that the world cannot? Answer: discipleship and Christian service.

  2. Recognize that young adults today aren’t as driven (at least for now) by consumerism as many of their parents…and grandparents.

  3. You can mix fun and service, and you should.

  4. Ask young adults and mature, older, Christian adults to pair up. The older adult can serve as a (same-sex) mentor—kind of like Christian Big Brothers/Sisters. Let the older adults disciple/mentor the younger adults as a special friend, Christian guide, discipler.

  5. Ask high school students to teach Sunday school to younger children. Consider this to take the place of Sunday school for these high school students. Why? When you teach, you learn: the Bible and how to be a model to others—an ingredient of discipling.

  6. Connect young adults to the joy of serving the less fortunate: helping the elderly, poor, suffering. Train them (by modeling) how to minister in hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, etc.

  7. Get them on a third-world mission field once a year—to help in any way.

  8. Help them to learn about themselves: spiritual gifts as well as other self-reflective tools.

You might think that service, formation, and some fun is a hard-sell youth ministry. It is, but not for today’s high school students! It’s the older generations who can’t believe it! Think of what this will do for your church and God’s Kingdom in the next 25 years as these young adults, grades 9-12, become the next leaders of the Christian Movement!

How does your church engage and involve high school youth? We welcome your comments below.

Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by emailTwitter, Facebook, or visit

Have the Church Doctor Report and more news from Church Doctor Ministries delivered direct to your email inbox by subscribing now.

Pin It on Pinterest