YOUTH MINISTRY BEST PRACTICES
Here is a list of best practices created by Parish Youth Directors of our Metropolis.
There are certainly many more great ideas not on this list, so stay tuned for more in the future!
Pray daily, by name, for each of the youth, young adults, and families in your parish. Incorporate worship and prayer into every activity and make participation accessible to the youth. For example, begin and end all activities with prayer allow everyone to help chant special services like the Small Paraklesis or read the prayers of the Small Compline together as a group.
Update your parish website using templates from Square Space or WordPress and establish social media pages like Facebook. Make sure these outlets are constantly updated and feature current photos and useful information. Maintain regular email communication with the families of your parish utilizing tools such as Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. Don’t forget the impact of making personal phone calls to families when necessary.
Commit to allocating money to hire a parish Youth Director dedicated to serving the youth, young adults, and families of the parish. Ensure there is fair compensation and a health benefits package. Continue to invest in this individual by sending them to Metropolis youth worker trainings, retreats, and serving at the Metropolis Summer Camp at St. Nicholas Ranch each summer.
BUILD A YOUTH MINISTRY TEAM
Create a team of devoted parents and young adults devoted to leading/supporting the parish youth and young adult ministry programs. Create opportunities for families to invite the members of the Youth Ministry Team/Youth Director/Clergy over for dinner or coffee to continue to build genuine relationships and share ideas of how to work together as a community.
FAITH & FELLOWSHIP
Focus programs and ministry opportunities on theology, connection to God, and philanthropy - not just on having fun. If you are going to offer a fun night of activities for the youth, also include an interactive talk about the faith and a short prayer service to combine faith and fellowship. You can book a “YES weekend” (Youth Equipped to Serve) through the Orthodox organization called FOCUS. The YES organization comes to your parish and provides opportunities for your youth and young adults to participate in a formative weekend of service that aim to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and bring youth to an awareness of Christ in themselves and others. For more information visit their website.
Y2AM YOUTUBE SERIES
Utilize the Archdiocese online YouTube resources like Steve Christoforou’s “Be the Bee” series and Christian Gonzalez’s “The Trench” series. These videos are great for Sunday school, youth and and young adult ministry discussion groups and are only about 5 minutes in length! For more information, visit their YouTube website.
YOUTH PROTECTION POLICIES
Understand & promote the proper usage of the Archdiocesan Youth Protection Policies within the parish. Visit the website for more information.
Establish a healthy annual youth budget to support monthly ministry gatherings and help offset the cost of planning and attending retreats and camps.
Create an annual youth ministry calendar by the end of August for September 1 - August 15 each year. Start by trying to have at least one ministry gathering per month for each ministry age group.
Send your youth to either a regional parish summer camp or the Metropolis Summer Camp at St. Nicholas Ranch! We know that many youth already attend their regional parish camps on a regular basis. Encourage your youth to attend the Metropolis Summer Camp at St. Nicholas Ranch at least once so that they can meet youth from throughout the Metropolis.