I saw a post on youth leaders only from a youth leader wanting advice on starting a new ministry and it started me thinking. I have had made quite a few mistakes in youth ministry (at one church I only lasted 6 months). However, I have learned some valuable lessons from my experiences and here are some ideas that have helped me.
1. Listen well and make change slowly. There is a reason why the church does things the way they do.
2. Get the lead pastor and board behind any major changes that need to be done. The more the church leadership owns the ministry the more effective it becomes.
3. Be an equipper before being a doer. It transforms your students and adults from consumers into workers.
4. Align the vision, missions and goals of the youth ministries with the vision of the church. In this way the youth ministry becomes a part of the entire church body. Teenagers need many significant relationships with adults from all walks of life to become healthy, well-rounded Christ followers.
5. Encourage the entire church body to invest into the lives of teenager. 50-80% of them already have a significant relationship with a teenager as a coach, relative, teacher, co-worker, etc.