youth ministry, youth worker, innovation


By Doug Franklin November 18, 2011

I have just spent the last few days at Leadership Network serving youth pastor teams by helping them create innovation in their youth ministries. It’s been fun and at times frustrating. The fun part is working with awesome folks who want to help students know Christ. The frustrating part is finding new innovations. Students are changing and their needs are changing, but are we changing with them? Have we really spent time evaluating our programs and process? This self-awareness about our ministry could truly help us. One take-a-way from this experience was, has the idea of “stealing” other churches’ programs caused us to stop being innovators ourselves. If we all are copying each other than who is innovating? We need innovation in church youth ministry. So how do we do it?

1. Identify innovation gaps
Where in your youth ministry are you seeking a result without intentional steps to get there? For example: we want our adult volunteers to be transformational with students but we don’t have a training or evaluation program to get us there. This is an innovation gap. We have a great idea or outcome but we don’t have a plan. I challenge you to identify 3 innovation gaps in your youth ministry. Then form a team from inside or outside your church. Getting all your youth pastor buddies together would make a great team. Brainstorm new innovations and work together to come up with something new to help you bridge this innovation gap.

2. Have goal pressure
When we have goals and we measure out progress in achieving them we will be faced with the need for innovation. Innovation happens most often when people are faced with real problems and no way out but to innovate to get them out. Do you feel that pressure in your ministry? If you don’t you won’t innovate.

3. Avoid satisfaction
Do you ask yourself, is there a better way? This question always leads to innovation. The problem is we don’t ask this question very often. We are satisfied with good enough. Well good enough is the enemy of innovation. I am reading the Steve Jobs book currently and I know why Apple products are so great because Steve never believed in good enough. How about you? When was the last time you took a good look at your program and asked, is there a better way?

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More