Our collaboration with the youth ministry is non-existent.

Your Question:

“How do I begin to make significant connections with the youth ministry (YM) leadership?”

The Issues:

For so many years, the “traditional” relationship between the youth ministry (YM) and the children’s ministry (CM) has been a “polite distance.” To attempt to collaborate may be viewed as an “invasion” into the YM’s world. You must highlight the benefits for such a collaboration.

Scripture Foundation:

“…For when one of you says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, as the Lord has assigned to each his role. I planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So, neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. He who plants and he who waters are one in purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one must be careful how he builds. For no one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  1 Corinthians 3: 4-11

Short Answer:

The business world calls departments that don’t communicate with other departments, “silos.” An organization made of individual “silos” may appear to function well, but in reality, it is only barely successful. 


Those who train organizations to grow, highly support collaboration between departments or sections of the organization. This is the “world’s” wisdom, but it greatly reflects the wisdom that God states in the scriptures.   Paul mentions the value of collaboration in his writings about the “body of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 12.


“The body is a unit, though it is composed of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body…For the body does not consist of one part, but of many…God has composed the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its members should have mutual concern for one another.”


Collaboration in ministry is vital!  Collaboration between the CM and the YM is beneficial for the growth of both ministries, but it is also important for the individual students in the ministries.  I must tell a personal story here.  For many years I was the children’s pastor at a successful mega-church in Southern California (Harvest Christian Fellowship).  Both our CM and our YM were strong and fruitful.  We “graduated” our children into the YM at sixth grade. The sixth graders would become part of the youth group after June of their fifth-grade experience.  We discovered, as others who study this nationwide, that there was a “drop-off” of attendance between the CM and the YM.  Children were not transitioning into the YM for some reason.  (The Barna Research Group conducted a 5-year study about teens’ perceptions of the Church.  Read their findings in their report entitled “Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church” at https://www.barna.com/research/six-reasons-young-christians-leave-church/ ).  


I began to ask some of our fifth-grade students and their parents about this phenomena. I heard fifth graders say things like, “I’m scared to go into the youth ministry!  I don’t know anybody there.” The parents of fifth graders also shared serious concerns about letting their child move into the YM because they didn’t know anything about the YM, nor did they know the YM leaders.


I met with the YM leaders and shared my concerns.  They understood the challenge, and had heard about the ”drop off” between the CM and the YM.  Together, we designed a process to slowly introduce fifth graders, and their parents, to the YM.  We adjusted the YM programs and events to involve fifth graders.  We collaborated in ministry goals and plans.  Within 1 year, we saw the “drop off” between the CM and the YM disappear.  We saw fifth graders, and their parents, looking forward to being a part of the YM. The steps we took, and the “bridges” we built are all described in the documents included in the “Collaborating With The Youth Ministry APPENDIX.”  To view those documents, click on the APPENDIX link below.

“Collaborating With The Youth Ministry APPENDIX”

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