The Tipping Point In Youth Ministry

The Tipping Point In Youth Ministry

Do you remember playing on a Teeter-Totter? Simple. You could even play on it by yourself. There is a point when you are on a Teeter-Totter when you move past the center. And you are no longer walking uphill. But you are walking downhill and things become much easier. It's called the Tipping Point.

There are 6 Tipping Points in Youth Ministry. Let's take a look at the concepts that change the momentum of Youth Ministry with a little organizational emphasis.

The first Tipping Point is a Campus Presence
Too many youth pastors and leaders are standing on the doorsteps of the church asking for students to come to the youth room. While at the same time, students at the school are standing on the doorsteps asking for the youth pastor to come to the campus. And the two never see each other.

Here are two ways to reach the campus quicker.

The first way to reach the campus is to train campus missionaries. There is no such thing as a closed campus. Because our students are there everyday. The second way to reach the campus is by attending or working with the extra-curricular events. It could be attendance at the football game on Friday night (where the city comes to meet you), or, by helping coach or volunteer with a sports team, the choir, or even tutoring. Unconditional Love should get a leader past their fear or inadequacy of the campus. It can be intimidating. But, be creative. There is no closed campus. Only a closed vision.

The second Tipping Point is building an atmosphere of Acceptance

Maybe the ultimate viral movement. Love. It is THE characteristic of Christianity. Partly because it is missing in a society that is performance based. With the family in the situation it is in, when a Youth Ministry exhibits Godly love, there is a magnetic culture-builder set. In a father-less (and motherless and siblingless) generation, a Youth Ministry that models an atmosphere of acceptance will quickly become a force to deal with in a region.

I believe God will send you young people if you are willing to love them. His kingdom is all about the child. And if we are, then He is pleased.

The third Tipping Point is Leadership Development
A healthy leader will produce healthy leaders. It takes all kinds of people to reach all kinds of people. Every type to reach type. Superman ministry doesn't work because Superman has a weakness. However, when you build a team of SuperFriends, there is no weakness. A plurality of leadership under a singular vision will reach more people than you can imagine. There may not be a better way to naturally reach more people than to train more people.

Every Youth Ministry should have AT LEAST a monthly meeting. Don't worry, if the meeting is valuable, the leaders will make it a priority. Eating, storytelling (wins), prayer, training and development, and relationship are all vital parts of a successful meeting. As far as content, present your own material, or invite a local leader, or assign articles, or books, or podcasts to leaders to listen to before a meeting. That will assure greater discussion in the meeting.

The fourth Tipping Point is Contextual Outreach
Context is setting. What is your setting? Urban, Metro, Suburban, or Rural? Are there more J-highers or S-highers? More boys than girls? What is the make-up of the students? Athletes, academics, alternatives, artisans, or atheists/un-churched?  What works for one church may not work in the next. Finding the events, programming, or activities in your setting is vital to drawing interest from students. Play off seasonal marketing.

Make sure that you are having 'neutral site' events also. Don't have every event at the Church. The students need to know that their faith works in their setting. A Back to School event, Homecoming ideas, a Halloween weekend, New Year's event, Valentine's emphasis, Prom alternatives, Graduation celebration, and Summer mystery events in and out of the Church.

The fifth Tipping Point is Intentional Prayer
This would not be pre-service prayer. That is not sacrificial. Youth Ministry can choose to be 'this' or 'that'. 'That' is normal. 'This' is super-natural. Jesus said if we want a certain kind of ministry, prayer would do it. He said, "This kind only comes out through prayer and fasting." (Mark 9) Organized and intentional prayer will do more for a Youth Ministry than anything else. By far.

Two ideas to implement prayer:
-Assign prayer partners in the Youth Ministry. Pair the students up and watch them grow.
-Schedule a Youth Prayer meeting weekly, monthly, etc.

The Sixth Tipping Point is Comprehensive Preaching

Story is one of the key communication models of Christ. Parables. With this in mind, remember that there are two worlds in the mind of our generation as they listen to us; first, the one they live in, and, second, the one they’ve heard about in the bible. Comprehensive means complete. From the inception of the scriptures in the 1st century to its presentation in the 21st century.

Parabolic preaching is powerful. It takes time and resources to connect yourself, but if it’s not done you will lose your audience. Our audience spends more time in this world than they do in the historical one, so we must be relative to be relevant. The difference is in the relationship with people and not just the understanding of their culture

If you want to reach this generation, you will do whatever it takes. I believe that story is the bridge. Read stories and listen to great story tellers. Read through the parables. It will help you become a voice in the post-modern culture of this youth generation.


Each of these are culture-setters and viral movements in a Youth Ministry. You may have a lot of methods or philosophies in your mind. But, I'm not sure any of these should be forgotten or neglected. Walking up the 'Teeter-Totter' of Youth Ministry can be scary. But, the closer we get to the fulcrum or the center-point, the easier the momentum becomes. Sooner than later, you are running downhill.

Jeff Grenell