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How do we keep students from “falling through the cracks” in our youth ministries?

  • Every student is important but not every student is impressive, so they may not stand out.
  • Every student needs a mentor/discipler but not every student is going to ask for one.
  • Every student is looking for love but not every student is looking for it in your youth ministry.
  • Every student needs acceptance but not every student believes you really accept them.

We must put safeguards in place to prevent students from “falling through the cracks” of our youth ministries!

I am not suggesting that there is a magic formula for success; there are no “easy steps” to this process. Over my last “forty plus” years of youth ministry, however, I have observed or discovered some basic criteria that can be helpful:

  1. Treat every student with “honor” and “respect.” Do not play favorites! Remember they are all important even if they are not impressive. The body of Christ is made up of a variety and diversity, Ephesians 4:16.
  2. Create a “this is a safe place” culture. If your students and leaders do not make each other feel safe enough to be transparent then you might as well install a revolving door.
  3. Foster a “welcome home” atmosphere. Remember, many of the students may come from broken or turbulent homes. For them this is truly their family or at least the only “peaceable”and “whole” one they experience.
  4. Connect every student with a “mentor/discipler.” Scripture clearly teaches us the best way to reproduce our faith in another believer in 2 Timothy 2:2. Make sure every student has someone more mature in the faith who takes on spiritual oversight for them.

Every student needs to know Christ personally! God wants to use you and your ministries to help many of these students discover His love and grow in a relationship with Him. We cannot allow them to fall through the cracks…

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