Boost Youth Ministry Impact: 9 Ministry Partnership Tips
In 30+ years of being in charge of a variety of ministries (church and parachurch), I’ve found great value and blessing in being connected to other youth leaders through youth ministry partnerships of all sorts—local, national, and virtual. Out of those three, the one that has boosted my ministry impact the most and showed me how to be a good youth pastor is my local Gospel Advancing network, a partnership of ministries near me who are united for the common cause to see teens reached with the Gospel.
It’s been a refuge, a resource, and sometimes a prime ministry outlet. If you’re a youth leader and don’t feel connected, please consider partnering with other youth ministries and youth pastors in your area. The importance of partnership in ministry can’t be overstated. Here are 9 ways it can help you be the ultimate youth pastor.
1. Local youth group events
Collaborating on events isn’t usually a network’s primary focus, but through relationship-building, our network has seen several groups combine for local service projects and all-nighters. The impact of church partnership multiplies when teenagers meet students from other ministries who go to their same school, and they can begin connecting at school to encourage one another and reach other students for Christ.
Some examples of youth group events you can do with church partnerships include worship nights and prayer walks. There’s also Disciple Now or DNOW, which offers discipleship weekend retreats for youth ministries.
2. More effective camps and retreats
I’ve seen some of the best camps and retreats be prayed up, planned out, and delivered as a result of ministry partnerships. When you combine with other youth pastors, you’re often able to do more than you can on your own. Plus, your group can benefit from the teaching gifts of other leaders (and other groups can benefit from yours!).
3. Shared discipleship
In today’s society, we share students. Some teenagers attend one church on Sunday with family and another one on Wednesday for youth group. Church partnership allows us to be on the same page with families and individuals.
Consider ways you can partner with other youth ministries that your students are already a part of. Can you organize going to camp together? If you know your student is getting baptized at their home church, are you comfortable inviting your students to be there to witness and celebrate? While shared discipleship can be complex, the goal is that the student feels loved and supported by both churches.
4. Collaboration on missions trips
On a few occasions, our youth ministry partnerships have gone out on mission trips together. This has been phenomenal, especially because many of our students return to the same schools as partners in mission for the other 51 weeks of the year!
5. Opportunities to witness
You don’t often see a group of people gathering in public and laughing, talking, and then praying. Our ministry partnerships have brought about a number of Gospel opportunities, as onlookers ask: “Who are you people?”
6. Strong friendships
Partnering with other youth ministries has brought about deep friendships. Some of these friendships have gone far beyond the ministry partnership, as we socialize together with spouses and families and “do life” together (including babysitting swapping)!
These friendships are a sweet reminder that other local youth ministries are not competition. They’re different parts of God’s Kingdom, working for the same cause – to see teenagers come to Christ. Creating these friendships is a constant reminder to root for your local youth pastors.
7. Companions for spiritual/ministry retreats
Several local youth pastors and wives have gotten away for a renewal retreat, concentrating on personal refreshment, laughter, and marriage. If your church is a part of a denomination that sponsors, make time and your calendar and go! Both you AND your students need it.
If not, you and other local ministers can plan one yourself. It can be as fancy or inexpensive, far or close by, long or short as you’d like. The point is to bond, relate, and perhaps see if the Lord will open a church partnership between you.
8. Consistent accountability
Accountability isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when we think of ministry partnerships, but it’s actually one of the most important. When churches, ministries, or pastors operate too much in a silo, it opens the door to problems and even sins.
When youth leaders partner with other ministries, they invite a fresh pair of eyes that can see problems you may have not noticed. There are so many common struggles with relationships, sin, ministry issues, and much more. At times of weakness, I’ve been gently rebuked, uniquely encouraged, and spurred on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
9. Refuge and prayer
Our network is safe. I’m known in this community, and I know I’m supported in prayer. If our group “errs” on one side, it’s that we want to love on each other and pray for one another more than anything else.
As you partner with other youth ministries and leaders, I think you’ll find, as I have, that the connections not only increase your youth group’s impact, but they show you how to be a good youth leader l.
To create a ministry partnership with an existing Gospel Advancing network in your area, check out this Gospel Advancing map (click on the blue icon nearest you, and a leader will contact you). For information on how to become a Gospel Advancing leader, click the button below.
Youth ministry partnerships allow you to make a greater Gospel impact on the teenagers in your city. When more harvest workers sow the field together, more fruit is reaped!
Like-minded youth pastors in the same community can organize worship nights, prayer walks, camps, and mission trips with their youth groups.
Youth ministry partnerships create strong friendships and bonds between youth pastors and their families. They’re a reminder that youth ministries aren’t competing – they’re working for the same Boss!
Youth pastors can organize retreats for local youth pastors and their families, and by becoming Gospel Advancing leaders, will join a community of like-minded youth leaders dedicated to equipping their students to fulfilling the Great Commission.