How to Build a Youth Group

The importance of building a youth ministry at your church cannot be understated. It is the young people at your church who will make up the next generation of leaders – from pastors to politicians – engaging them in their church and community is a must.

Grant Glas
November 21, 2022
Kids Ministry Leadership

8 Tips for Starting a Church Youth Group

The importance of building a youth ministry at your church cannot be understated. It is the young people at your church who will make up the next generation of leaders – from pastors to politicians – engaging them in their church and community is a must. 

Your church youth group should be fun and exciting, providing a time dedicated to the young people in your congregation. Let them make friends, play games, and have fun together while building a lasting relationship with God. 

Are you wondering how to build a youth group and engage younger church members? You are in the right place. Keep reading for five essential tips to keep in mind when starting a church youth group and four to remember when expanding it.

Starting a Church Youth Group

Young adult church group singing

Timing Is Key

Before starting a church youth group, consider the current youth you have in your congregation. If you have only one child in attendance, it probably isn’t the right time to jump into it, but if you have three or more kids who show interest in being a part of a group, the time is just right. Start small with a six-week taster course to give yourself time for reflection and growth.

Train Your Volunteers

Training youth group volunteer on social media

First things first, find suitable volunteers to lead the youth group. Selecting people with promise from your current pool of volunteers is a great way to promote progression within your church while ensuring your youngsters are in good hands. Discover more about identifying and developing your leaders here. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you must train your youth group volunteers before they begin.

Know How to Lead

Treating your church youth like they are young adults and showing them respect is essential. Being a youth group leader takes a different skill set than leading adults, so having the right volunteers on the team is crucial. Train your volunteers to be friendly and approachable, and they will help build the image of your youth group as something that people are excited to attend. Check out this blog to ensure you aren’t making any common leader mistakes with your youth ministry sector.

Start With One Age

Kids playing tug of war

If you only have several kids in attendance at your church, there’s no harm in grouping them all together. But remember that children are less likely to engage when there is a big age gap. Ideally, you would have at least two age groups, one for middle schoolers and another for high schoolers. To get the youth program going, kickstart things with the middle schoolers as they tend to be more enthusiastic than teens.

Include a Meal


Offering kids who attend your youth group church a healthy meal will increase the chances that parents will send them in. Set the time frame as two hours, to begin with, and include a meal, as it will encourage the youngsters to relax and enjoy themselves. As we know from the Bible, there is something special and intimate about breaking bread together.

How to Build a Youth Group

Youth group sitting outside

Fun Outreach Activities

Youth group outside about to outreach

If you want to keep your current kids interested while expanding your reach, your youth group must be fun. Include a mixture of youth ministry games and engaging church youth group activities so your learners forget they are there to learn. Think about it — kids will be way more excited to come along and try it out if there is a range of church youth group games on offer.

Have an Open Door Policy

The best way to grow attendance in your youth group is by encouraging your current kids to bring along a friend. Ensure the atmosphere is welcoming and friendly so new faces don’t feel nervous to try it out. Plus, the more friendships present in the group, the more genuine your youth ministry club will feel. Send the invitation far and wide throughout your community to get the word out.

Weekly Small Groups

Weekly youth group gatherings

Once your church youth group has a sizable number, it’s time to plant some roots within the group. Planning weekly small group meet-ups will get you past the social and toward the youth ministry lessons. And it will create a space for questions asked, problems confronted, and deep friendships forged. Run these groups in a different location than the large group meet-ups, and make them a haven for your students.

Opportunities to Serve

Serving the community with food

Get your youngsters mobilized and ready to serve by assigning them roles within the youth group. These can begin as small token jobs to give them a taste of responsibility, setting them up for a lifetime of giving and charity. You could even rotate these roles between your different small groups, giving one the role of activity leader for one week, the next group the following week, and so on.


Church youth group gathering

How to build a youth group? By making it something to look forward to. It should offer kids, from middle schoolers to teenagers, the chance to get to know God on a more personable level in a way that makes sense to them. Scripture and Bible study may seem daunting to youngsters who are still finding their way in school, so make your youth group something entirely different — a safe haven filled with fun, friends, and faith.

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