Here are the key points of an article by Jeanne Mayo focused on ways to spend time with teens. It’s worth reading. You can find the full article it at the following link: Youth Ministry’s Seven Biggest Words.


Let me briefly hit a few simple “tricks” I have learned to multiply my time in youth ministry and to help me live out “the big seven” on a daily basis:

  1. Create a “SIP” (“system in place”) that mobilizes other adults, college people, or key student influencers to connect with youth group participants in a specific way. Don’t make this system too difficult. Just divide your group up into smaller groups of student names and phone numbers. Then ask potential leaders to call or hang out with “their kids” on a personal basis at least once every week (or every other week). Meet with your emerging new leadership group at least once a month to encourage them and provide some simple accountability. Remember the “KISS” principle (“Keep It Simple, Sweetheart”).
  2. Use the telephone. Granted, most of us are not real crazy about more phone action; but the phone allows the students to hear your voice and feel a personal sense of connection. Be prepared for kids to sometimes not be too talkative over the phone and even make you feel like a pretty big looser. But those vibes are deceptive. They still really appreciate the personal call, even if all they did on the other end of the phone was to grunt.
  3. Give people the “focused 60 seconds.” I used to think that people needed large blocks of time to really feel connected with. Granted, some situations certainly require quite a bit of time. But I’m constantly amazed at how much genuine friendship I can communicate with a teenager in a short amount of time if I just give them all of my focus, energy, and attention. It boils down to the old principle, “Wherever you are, be all the way there.”
  4. Practice “On the way” ministry. Have you ever noticed how many times in the New Testament it reads something like, “And while Jesus was on the way, He…”? I think Christ Himself had way more people He wanted to connect with than He had hours in the day to accomplish it. So He strategically seemed to make use of His time as He went from one place to the other. Trying to model Jesus’ example, I often do “on the way” ministry as I walk from one side of the building to the other. In like manner, I rarely run an errand without someone else in the car with me. Just make use of the “in between time.” You’ll be surprised at how often you can recapture some vital minutes of relationship-building.