youth worker, youth ministry, divide

The Divided Youth Group

By Doug Franklin February 1, 2010

In a perfect world students from all different backgrounds and schools would come together at a weekly meeting to love and encourage each other. If this were true monkeys could fly and youth pastors would make $100,000 per year. The truth is youth groups are divided by things not under the control of the youth pastor; schools, sport teams and past relationships. So how can a youth pastor create unity inside his or her youth ministry? I have two practical ideas that you can use.

1. Shared Experience:
Bring a small number of disengaged students to a neural but fun experience. For guys I would suggest a sporting event, maybe a hockey game or professional football game. For gals have a professional cosmetologist come in and give a presentation on the latest makeovers. Make sure it’s an event that they have never done before. This works best if you pick students that are core influencers. Allow them to share an experience beyond themselves and their differences. It will also give them a platform for building strong relationships.

2. Get them out of their comfort zone:
When students move outside of their comfort zone they tend to band together with others who are making the same move. Take your students to a battered women’s shelter or to a refugee processing center. Have them run a VBS type program at an apartment complex full of people from other countries. Take them on a challenging wilderness trip. Push them to their limits and put them back together again as a unified team.

A large part of youth group management is creating an atmosphere of unity. Youth group management is the ability to create the intangibles of love, student encouragement of students, momentum, identity and a “we can do anything” attitude. Just hoping it will happen won’t make it happen. Intentional actions designed to create unity will change the focus of your youth ministry and change its impact.

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