Youth Ministry Ownership

A sense of ownership doesn’t mean anything without actual ownership.

There’s a lot of talk in the youth ministry realm about creating a sense of ownership in youth ministry. A lot of times, this conversation runs around in circles on the playground of naming events and groups, decorating youth rooms, and designing cool t-shirts. We’re trying to make sure our students are really ‘buying into’ the ministry and feel like they’re critical to what’s going on. We know they’ll show up more consistently if they have this sense of ownership, and when they show up more consistently we’ll be able to pump them full of God’s message for their lives, right?

While our intentions are mostly golden, I wonder if we’re trying to create the wrong thing.

Do our students really need to feel a sense of ownership in our student ministry, or do they need to actually own their place & responsibility in ministry? Can we see the difference here? I wonder if, in trying to create this sense of ownership, we are helping them settle for something less than real ownership?

Do the students in your ministry really “own” anything? For many of us, the answer would have to be, “No.” They may have picked the paint colors and come up with a catchy name that they like, but they don’t really carry the responsibility of ministry in any real, concrete ways. We and our teams of adult leaders carry it all. And so, the kids show up faithfully… but what if our students really begin to see themselves as the church of Jesus Christ? What if they begin to take seriously His directive to follow Him & make disciples?

It’s difficult to unleash young people into the ministry that God is wanting to do through them because we want to protect them.

It’s risky because they’ll mess up and make us look less competent than we want people to think we are.

It’s dangerous because they may not yet have the skills to match their passion.

But it’s absolutely essential because God doesn’t settle.

Don’t settle for a sense of ownership.

Develop owners.

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