Tip: Host a Youth Sunday.
Youth Sunday. You either love it. Or you hate it. It can be a wonderful opportunity for your students to shine. Or it can be the biggest headache you’ve ever had to suffer through.
For me, I really enjoy youth Sunday. It’s an event that is is so much more than simply a show. It’s an opportunity to talk with your students about what worship is all about while discussion how your particular church/congregation conduct their worship service.
I also like doing our youth Sunday at the end of the school year as opposed to the beginning. For years, the one group I served always held their youth Sunday in June, usually just before graduation. For me it was a great time for our students (mostly high school and middle school) get up in front of the entire congregation and share in the life and ministry of the church!
But three of my favorite parts about youth Sunday are…
1. Validation for your work. It may sound selfish at first, but it might be the only time you receive a compliment and recognition for what you do. Youth Sunday is a wonderful way to introduce your ministry to the church at large. All of our church have those adults and families who show up on Sunday morning, “worship” then disappear till next Sunday morning. But on this Sunday, they get to see what the youth are doing. They get to hear what God is doing in their lives. And they get to see the impact the church is making in the lives of students. When the congregations sees that students are maturing and God is doing great things, people gain a certain understanding and respect for what the ministry does. It’s important for us to know that someone else is seeing the growth in a students life and to hear that we are appreciated.
2. Student Testimonies. (usually senior testimonies.) Youth Sunday provides the opportunity for student to verbally share what God has been doing in their lives. This is usually something I reserve for the seniors. It becomes fro them, a chance to express their appreciation for all the support and love that the congregation has demonstrated in their lives. For some students, it has included be care for in the nursery by volunteers, to faithful Sunday School Teachers, to volunteer adult leaders in the youth group, to one-on-one mentors that have poured into their lives. It’s always amazing to hear a student reflect on what God has taught them in the last couple of years. It’s also good to hear how you as their youth pastor have impacted their lives, EVEN when you don’t think you did.
3. The shear joy of watching students lead worship in “big church.” It never fails. There is something about watching a student participate in worship that moves the heart. I started assisting in worship when I was 17. I served as a licensed lay-reader for my home church when I was 18. Those times helped to change my outlook on worship, leaving unforgettable impressions on my heart. That same mark is left when students are given the opportunity to lead worship before the congregation. What also makes it special is the opportunity for your students to use their gifts and talents for the Lord.
Many of us have the annual charge to plan and lead a youth Sunday every year. But if you currently do not have an annual youth Sunday, let me encourage you to talk with your senior pastor about the possibilities of your students sharing their gifts and talents to glorify God.