As a Southern Baptist Youth Minister in Kentucky, I am afforded wonderful networking opportunities. Even larger areas in Kentucky are smaller than some small areas in other states. Plus we have that whole southern hospitality thing going, so most of us are more than willing to help another youth minister. (The main reason that I started this blog).
A few weeks ago in our Kentucky Youth Minister’s group on Facebook, a fellow youth minister asked a very good question about how to revive his Sunday School Class. Which leads me to this week’s topic “Killing the Sacred Cow.” I love that analogy too!
What are programs in your church that are only around because no one has the courage to kill them off? Now don’t get me wrong this isn’t the case for all churches but if you have a youth choir that maybe a good example. However no one wants to Kill the Cow! Why? Traditionalism. It’s been around since the 1950’s and that’s the way it is. Well ladies and gents that’s not always a good thing. If we mire ourselves in traditionalism then we cannot progress to the future due to being stuck in the past. This youth workers Sunday School class was a good example. Now I’m not endorsing a no Sunday School idea. But during the conversation on Facebook we came up with lots of great ideas to liven things up.
The best by far was a fellow Youth Minister Tara Clark’s idea. Tara is a Youth Minister at Clay Village Baptist Church. She said “This may seem crazy, but I changed the name from "Sunday School" to WakeUp! Cafe and started serving coffee, juice, donuts or poptarts and giving them time to hang out for 10 or 15 minutes before starting bible study. We started teaching more apologetic type material on Sunday mornings, giving them tools for answering the hard questions.” Just by ditching the name “Sunday School”, serving breakfast snacks, and giving the class a specific focus, apologetics, she saw a change in attitude about it.
Another idea. Instead of calling it “Youth Choir” call it the “Youth Praise and Worship Team” and have them focus on leading worship in “big church” when there are praise and worship songs involved. Put the youth in charge, let them select the songs. Have an adult approve the songs but let the pick! Get them involved, then it might not seem so bad or seem like a chore.
But also do not hesitate in Killing the Cow when you need to. Youth Choir was eating up one half of my youth ministry time. I got tired of seeing teenagers sling paper air planes across the room and be inattentive. So I approached the youth, found they had no interest in singing, but had an interest in playing music. “Tada instant praise band!” Now I and key youth members are members of our church praise band. Plus I get the bonus of spending twice the time with them!
So know when it's time to pull that trigger but also be cognizant of when it's time to just spruce up an exhisting program. Until next time peeps! Just keep swimming!
PS: Here's a funny video to help set the mood!