Youth Group Programming

I was asked by a friend recently about what our youth group looks like every Wednesday night. So after my discussion with him I figured I’d post what a typical Wednesday night at FBC Dawson Springs Youth Ministry looks like. I will give you a fair warning, though my group is small and very rural, I believe in HIGH quality programming. Our youth ministry programming resembles larger church programming. I am able to pull it off with the help of some great volunteers and dedication to my group.
We typically have youth group for one hour on Wednesday nights. I make sure to have everything set up at least 30 minutes prior to doors opening. I have to set up our chairs, projector, snacks, and information table every week as we share the space in our Activity Building. I do have a stage, speakers and other large things that stay set up though.
Prior to the average student showing up I have some student leaders that show up 30 minutes prior to doors opening to help set up. We open up with a pre show, we play music (typically Lecrae, 116 Clique, or DJ Promote) over our speakers and hang out pitching a frisbee or playing hacky sack prior to  kick off. 
We have a 5 minute countdown to the start of youth group. This video shows over our projector. After the count down I typically do a welcome and we will have around 2 stage games. I use things like power point games (some of our favorites right now are Is That Really In the Bible, and Taylor Swift Lyric or Lamentations), my students really like The Challenge from Simply Youth Ministry, or game show style games like What’s on That Cracker, Air Band, or Impossible Shot. There is a reason I do stage games, I have found that stage games are easy for ALL students to do. If a student does a game that requires fitness or strength it limits who will volunteer and if a student who is not particularly strong or is over weight may get embarrassed while playing, so we program games anyone can play.
After games we will usually do one song. We use lyric videos from YouTube. The reason being, I have no praise band. I wish we did but its not possible. The reason we do one song is, my kids don’t sing! Well at least the majority. We have some students that do and that’s why we do do the one song. Like any youth ministries we use popular Christian worship songs. (Our play list right now is 10,000 Reasons, Whom Shall I Fear, One Thing Remains, and Like a Lion).
After that song I typically do News before I start to teach. Even though my lessons are a lot like sermons they are more interactive than an adult sermon. We typically teach in series, I try to keep them around 3 weeks long. My lessons are usually 20-30 minutes. I usually break up my lessons into 6-7 minutes of teaching, then a interactive part. I usually will include a discussion question where they find a partner and discuss a question based on that teaching point. I also include text in polls, object lessons, or I will even hop off stage and poll the crowd. Anything that invests the student into the lesson. 
We the close in prayer and I always have a student end us in prayer. I won’t call on a visitor or a new student but any other student knows they will get called on at some time. 
Thats a preview of what my set up looks like, please don’t think you need to copy it exactly, my setting is different than yours. Hopefully this will give you some ideas of something to include in your ministry or at least get you thinking! Until next time!
Just keep swimming!
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Bio: Kevin Patterson is currently serving as Minister to Students at Spring Bayou Baptist Church in Kevil, Kentucky. He currently attends Truett-McConnell College online and holds a certificate in youth ministry from YouthSphere. He is an ordained Southern Baptist minister and has been doing youth ministry for over 5 years. In addition to youth ministry, he works full time as a store manager and is a US Army combat veteran. In addition to MinistryPlace.net, you can read more from Kevin at his blog, www.lifeintheymfishbowl.blogspot.com.

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