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It’s All About the “i” in Youth Ministry

In Youth Leaders by Donnie Ellis227 Comments

No, it’s not about the ipad, iphone, ihome, or even the eyebrow :). The ‘i’s that will be mentioned in this article are invest, intercede, and involve. Through my experience it has been these three things that have made a great impact on the youth that I am blessed to be around.


The first “i” is….Invest


Investing in an individual connects them with you.  Dave Ramsey, a financial expert, gives an example of a man that put a certain amount of money aside every month from age 18 to 25 and then stops. Another man puts aside the same amount of money every month from age 26 until he retires at age 65. Due to compound interest, the first man will have way more money than the second even though the second man never stopped putting in money. Now I do not claim to be a financial guru of some sort, but it’s the man that invested early that got the greatest dividends. We only get a few short, but very important, years to invest in the lives of the youth we come into contact with. There is nothing more powerful to a young person than when a youth leader invests into their life.

Once you have invested into them, it is easier to speak into their lives and they will receive it better, whether it be a blessing or a rebuke. We can think back and see the people that took the time, invested and helped shape our lives. We as youth leaders are shaping, not just the future revival, but the now revival. It’s said that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. We must invest!

Ideas for “Invest”

  • Smile more! Young people should respect you, but not fear you.
  • Have a day where you take them out to eat with just you and them.
  • Tell them about some great times you’ve had with Jesus. It will fire them up to get their own experiences with Jesus.
  • If you have to go do some work at the church or wherever, see if they want to come and buy their lunch.
  • If they need a ride take them home. Don’t just drop them off and leave, stay around and chat with them for a while. (This is really effective)
  • Have a game night, play board games/video games, play some ball, and just have a good time together.
  • Give them a journal or book and write something encouraging in the front cover.


The second “i” is….Intercede


Interceding helps connects them with God. It’s a simple concept of constantly praying for the youth God has placed in your hands but it is something that needs to be repeated. Without God we are nothing. As youth leaders we can’t do this on our own talents and abilities but we have to reach a place in prayer for the youth that walls are broken down and the spirit of God can move. The amount of stress, problems and junk that are hit our youth everyday is crazy. They need someone, a youth leader, who is willing to intercede, plead the blood, and pray protection for him or her. The youth wants to be connected in prayer.

Several months ago after church on a Tuesday night, I was headed to the prayer room. One of the 17 year olds came up and asked where was I going (he wanted to hang out and he had been struggling with some stuff). I simply said that I was going to go pray and he just came right along. It was a powerful prayer meeting. That young man prayed for over an hour and half, crying, worshipping and speaking in tongues. He hasn’t been the same since. The youth is looking for someone one who will intercede and lead in that area so they can follow. It is up to us. We must intercede!

Ideas for “Intercede”

  • Have a list of your youth and everyday in prayer call out some or all of the names.
  • Text or write them a note letting them know that you have been praying for them. Side note – send individual texts not a mass text, young people are special and no one likes to receive mass texts.
  • Pray with them at the altar or prayer room and let the anointing destroy the yoke.
  • At youth prayer, pray prayers that they need to pray out loud so they will hear you and begin to pray in that direction.


The third “i” is….Involve

Involvement connects them with the body of Christ. Get them involved in something. With the mass amounts of time, energy and amazing talents that young people have, if we don’t plug them in they WILL find something to fill their time. We are training the future of the church, and if they are not involved at a young age, chances of them doing something for the kingdom of God later are slim. Below are some examples that may help you, or use your own, but the main point is we MUST get them involved.

Lions will not attack the prey that is in the middle of the herd, but looks for the ones that are on the edge. It’s the same with the youth. The youth that are on the fringe of involvement will be the ones that get attacked first. It is the youth that are the core of what is going on that will not only make it, but also impact and change this world. Every young person can do something for the work of God, but it is our job as leaders to get him or her there. We must involve!

Ideas for “Involve”

  • A setup and breakdown team for services or events.
  • A creative team to plan activities and games (my team has come up with some of the craziest games I’ve ever seen).
  • Start an armor bearer program that assists the pastor and ministers before, during and after services.
  • Skit team
  • Tech team
  • Outreach team
  • Decorating team
  • And it can go on and on… 🙂



The youth of this world needs youth leaders that are connected to God in prayer, who will invest in them, intercede for them, and get them involved. The 3 “i”s of youth ministry. Let’s do it!



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