You know the scenes. Especially this time of year as new youth and parents are considering joining in with the youth ministry of the church. New families have moved to town to coincide with the start of a new school calendar. You now have a need for a few new youth leaders to volunteer within the ministry. Trouble is, you have a finite amount of time to grab them with the great ministry happening at the church and with the youth ministry.
What You Need!
You need some 15 second speeches that can adequately express your ministry to the three key people who ask you to tell them about the youth ministry.
These scenes might seem eerily familiar. You will want to craft your messages, write them down and practice them so that when it comes time to actually use them (and there will be a time) you can share these with confidence.
New Youth: “So tell me about the youth ministry here.”
Youth Worker: “Uh, Yeah. So we meet twice a week as a youth group. We do bible study one night and have a cool worship the other. In the summers we do a cool mission trip.
(Youth stares at Youth worker)
(Youth worker struggling to find something that connects)
The other kids here are cool too. You would just love it here.”
New Youth: Stares unimpressed
When it comes to sales pitch, the teenager is king of having the shortest attention span. They will make a decision within seconds. You need to craft a quick message that quickly connects to the wants and interest of the youth.
Principles for a teenager 30 second speech would include:
- Introduction, if needed
- Grab statement: “We are a ministry that gives ministry back to the young people.”
- 3 points of specific interest: “Youth are heard here. Youth lead and guide our missions. Youth teach each other the faith through relationships and questions.” Need to be something that youth would be interested in AND that you can actually provide.
- Response statement: “If you want to explore your faith like this then you want to come for…” Can add in the info collecting sheet, get an email, etc.
New Parent at Church: “So tell me about the youth ministry here.”
(on a Sunday morning nonetheless)
Youth Worker: “Uh, Yeah.
(Looks around distracted by teenagers running the hallways)
So we meet twice a week. We offer a bible study for your teenagers that gives them a complete reading of the bible in one year. We do spiritual practices regularly. We teach your teenager to love God… Umm..
(Stares at the wall thinking of the latest National Study on Youth and Religion research and what might be important to this parent)
Is there a specific question you have about the ministry?”
New Parent at Church: (Stares, wanted more)
The parent equally has little time to wait on you to share the mission statement, vision, calendar, and host of random facts about the youth ministry. Many professional parents are used to this 30 second pitch from other business types, so speaking their language here is a plus for you and gives them the impression that you are equally professional in what you do in ministry.
Principles for a parent 30 second speech:
- Introduction if needed with some background credentials. “I am the youth director here for the last five years and have been leading ministry for 10 years and have a theology degree from seminary (do not go into the depths of your seminary or degree). I am also a parent of three children (parents like parents because that gives trust that you know how much they care for children).
- Answer the questions for the parents: “We know it is hard to raise your child to be faithful and loving in the Christian way with todays influences. We seek to provide an active group that gives the youth an opportunity to learn and live their faith through (short bullet list) bible study, missions, and engaging worship.” We often joke that parents just want ministry to keep their kids from drinking, drugs and sex and they are pretty happy there. We might think that, but we do not say that to them here, but those really are honest concerns. Parents want their children (and they are still their children) to be safe, have positive influences, be ‘nice’ kids, and come to know God somewhere in the midst of that. As a youth worker, you have to trust that somewhere in the midst of that God does work.
- What I call the “We are great for” statement: “We are great for the youth who can thrive in a youth group that ‘does stuff’.” “We are great for those who are new to the faith and needing some tools and encouragement along their new faith walk.” You are giving the parent some idea that their youth would fit in there. Not all youth ministries fit all youth (one size fits all fits no one). So look at those who are thriving in the youth group, who are fringe. What are the commonalities of the youth who are thriving. Those are the things that make of the youth you are ‘great for’.
Then You Have
Youth Worker: “Hi Paul, I was wondering if you might prayerfully consider, kinda, volunteering with the youth ministry.”
Prospective Youth Leader: “Sure (they will consider it, your actual question), but why do you think I would be good for the youth ministry?”
Youth Worker: (shocked they didn’t immediately say “No” and turn for the closest exit)
“Um, you are pretty cool. The youth seem to like you. You are not one of their parents (dope! didn’t mean to say that).
Prospective Youth Leader: “What would you want me to do?”
Youth Worker: “Just come the youth group meeting and I will introduce you to the youth and how we do things.”
Prospective Youth Leader: (door is flapping in breeze)
The prospective youth leader is a whole other animal where you need to have a quick speech to give in recruiting. This takes a bit of inspiration and planning. Something you are hopefully prepared for as more times than not you will initiate these conversations.
Principles for the prospective youth leader 30 second speech:
- Introduction, if needed. No background information needed please, just a title/position.
- The Need of the group: “Our youth community is starting small groups this year and are in need of more youth leaders.”
- Qualities to fulfill the Need: “The youth are needing leadership who are (quick bullet list) willing to wrestle with them and their faith questions, listen to them, and help guide them in some outreach ministry.” You want to give a few qualities or actions that a person can perform to help fulfill a need within the ministry. The list can be shorter, but try not to go over three items.
- Affirmation statement: “I immediately thought of you because you are comfortable and mature with your faith to let others ask questions. I have seen the youth interact with you after worship and can tell that you have already started a relationship with the youth that will be of comfort. You do some great work with the homeless that I know them would love finding more about.” Sometimes people need help in seeing that they possess the gifts to live into a ministry opportunity.
- Next Step: “I want you to pray about this ministry opportunity and sharing your gifts. I will call you next week to schedule a coffee to talk more.” You need to give a clear next step. Even if it is “No” from the prospective youth leader then your next step could be to ask for them to help suggest others you might ask.