Teens need relationships with adults in their church.
Students who had at least 5 adults investing into their lives are more likely to continue their faith walk after high school. Too many churches hire a youth pastor and expect him or her to do all the work, all the investing, all the planning, all the teaching.
No one person can be all of that to all the students in a church’s youth ministry. Jesus was the son of God and he invested in twelve and then those twelve went on to invest in others. More on this HERE.
Teens need to serve.
Teenagers who are Christ followers have spiritual gifts and those gifts are not to be kept to one’s self. Give students opportunities to minister and serve in the church and in youth ministry. We all know the satisfaction you feel when you take what God has given you and accomplish something, complete a task, or simply help someone. Students have that same need.
Teens need examples.
Teenagers need to be able to look at the adults in your church and see examples of what a Christ follower looks like. When they look do they see servants? Do they see ministers? Do they see missionaries? OR do they see pew warmers? Bench sitters?
Do they see adults worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth?
Teens are the church.
Does the phrase, “these kids are the church of the future” drive anyone else nuts or is it just me? If a teen has put their faith in Christ then that teen is part of the church, today, here and now. So treat them as such. What do you expect from the members of the church? Put those same expectations on teenagers. This helps them to learn how to be an active, responsible part of the church. Let them lead!
Teens need to be “self-feeders”.
Equip students to learn how to feed themselves from God’s Word. They won’t always be in this cozy warm incubator we call “Youth Group”. They are going to step out into the real world and if no one has taught them how to feed themselves they will starve spiritually. Help them learn to have a world-view that is filtered through the lens of the scripture. Ask questions that make them think. Give them material to use so they can have their own personal daily quiet time. Ask them, one on one, “What was did you learn last week in your daily quiet time?” (and be ready to share something from your own daily quiet time) A shepherd takes the sheep to a place to feed, provides the opportunity for grazing.
The above 5 things aren’t an all inclusive list and they don’t guarantee a kid won’t walk away from their faith when they graduate. Our responsibility is to shepherd and equip and then the choice is theirs as to what they will do with what they have been given.